AOD Test – The Need To Know
15 September, 2023
Alcohol and other drugs or AOD test is a medical procedure to determine if a person is impaired or intoxicated. It analyses various biological specimens for illicit drugs or high alcohol levels. This test is common in the workplace to monitor employees’ safety or detect substance abuse. In addition, the need for this test arises from frequent workplace accidents and other risks associated with alcohol and drug use.
The misuse or abuse of drugs and alcohol poses health and safety hazards to the individual and the immediate environment. It can impair judgment, perception, and coordination. Thus, a person under the influence of drugs may have trouble operating a vehicle or machinery. For this reason, many organisations implement drug and alcohol programs. This article will present essential information about workplace testing, including its functions and scope, types of methods, and accuracy.
What Does AOD Test Mean?
An AOD test stands for Alcohol and Other Drugs Test. It is a screening or diagnostic procedure to detect substances that are prohibited in the workplace or other settings. The test utilises various techniques to determine if a person is impaired while on duty. Moreover, it is a preventive measure for substance abuse and other risky behaviours.
Organisations implement this test to reduce the risk of accidents. With lower incident rates, companies can minimise expenses, improve employee morale, and maintain a safe environment. Additionally, it can help to improve productivity due to reduced absenteeism. Likewise, employers can ensure compliance with regulations and mitigate legal risks that may arise due to an accident.
Employers can facilitate this test through a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy. The policy outlines the standards and procedures for testing, consequences for a positive result, and other related matters. It also includes educational resources to help employees understand the importance of abstaining from drug and alcohol use. Therefore, it serves as a clear communication of the organisation’s commitment to safety and fitness for duty.
Reasons to Conduct
- Ensure the safety of employees and minimise the risk of accidents and injuries.
- Maintain a productive and efficient work environment by identifying and addressing substance abuse issues.
- Comply with legal and regulatory requirements related to workplace safety and hazard-free policies.
- Protect the reputation and integrity of the company.
- Deter potential drug and alcohol abuse through consistent implementation of testing programs.
- Identify employees who may require treatment or assistance with substance abuse problems and provide appropriate support.
- Mitigate potential conflicts caused by altered behaviour.
- Assist employers in hiring suitable candidates for a safety-sensitive job.
- Determine if drugs or alcohol are factors in an accident.
Types of AOD Tests
There are several types of AOD tests to detect impairment or substance abuse. The first type is urine testing. It is the most popular form of test because of its accuracy and cost-effectiveness. Urine specimens can detect a wide range of substances, including recreational drugs and prescription medications. Another type is an oral fluid test. It is efficient for determining recent consumption due to its short detection window.
A breath test is a non-invasive method of detecting alcohol in the system. It uses a breathalyser device that analyses the breath sample to measure the blood alcohol levels. the device is easy to use and gives the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) results after a few seconds.
Furthermore, a hair follicle test can trace drug and alcohol metabolites for up to 90 days from the last use. This procedure is suitable for determining the consumption history of a person. Lastly, a blood test can measure the precise concentrations of alcohol and drug compounds in the body. However, it is intrusive, costly, and has a long turnaround time.
What Can be Detected
Urine, hair, and saliva screening can detect common drugs of abuse, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and hallucinogens. These substances can severely impair a person and have a high risk of developing an addiction. It can also trace prescription opioids and sedatives like morphine, barbiturates, oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Moreover, a breath test is specific to ethanol because of its volatility. Alcohol is detectable in breath within minutes after consumption and lasts up to 24 hours. Lastly, a blood test can identify specific drug compounds instead of their metabolites. It can also provide an accurate assessment of the alcohol levels to determine impairment.
Accuracy and Reliability of AOD Tests
AOD tests are reliable measures to detect alcohol and drug usage. The accuracy can vary depending on the type of test. For example, urine and saliva drug screens use immunoassays to detect substances. However, it cannot measure the exact amount present in the body. If the preliminary screening detects a substance, the sample is forwarded to a laboratory for further analysis.
Among the test methods, the blood test provides the most accurate results. It utilises Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques to calculate the exact level of alcohol or drugs in the bloodstream. The GC-MS test is considered the “gold standard” in drug testing because it can detect trace amounts of substances.
Nevertheless, there are several factors that can affect the accuracy of the results. One factor is the handling of the specimens. Collectors must follow the chain of custody to avoid contamination and maintain the integrity and validity of the samples. Additionally, exposure to certain medications, foods, and environmental factors can also alter the results. Therefore, it is important to follow the instructions carefully for an accurate outcome.
Risk of False Non-negative Result
A false non-negative result refers to the indication of alcohol or drugs in the system even though the person has not actually consumed any substance. It can happen due to multiple factors, including improper sample collection or wrong analysis. In addition, it can have severe implications. It can lead to damaged reputation, loss of job, and even legal issues.
Therefore, it is crucial to use reliable procedures and devices for collecting and analysing biological specimens. It is necessary to conduct confirmatory testing if the initial screen reflects non-negative results. This helps to minimise false reports and rectify any discrepancies.
AOD tests are reliable measures and cost-effective measures to detect alcohol and drug usage. The purpose of these tests is to prevent accidents and improve safety. Moreover, there are several test methods available, such as urine, blood, hair, and breath. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. It can detect a wide range of substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and hallucinogens. Through timely detection, companies can ensure a safe working environment for everyone.
It is vital to follow the standard procedures in collecting, handling, and analysing the samples to obtain accurate and reliable results. Individuals must also be aware of the factors that may affect the test to minimise the possibility of false positives. Overall, drug and alcohol testing can help address substance-related issues and enable organisations to make informed decisions. It can be a valuable tool for developing more effective policies and safety procedures.