Drug abuse is undoubtedly one of the most prevalent social problems that modern societies face today. There are literally hundreds of articles all over the internet discussing this issue from different points of view. The social impact of using and abusing illicit drugs1 is so wide and far-reaching that the sheer amount of information can be staggering and can be quite a challenge to sift through.
Drug testing in particular is tackled from all possible angles. The kind and extent of internet research you do on this topic will depend on who you are and why you need the information. You may be a parent concerned for a child, a student doing research for a school paper, a School Administrator seeking information about current in-campus substance abuse trends and how to address them, a corporate hiring manager polishing up on pre-employment drug screening guidelines or even a confused soul hoping to find a solution to your drug problem.
Check out the following categories of drug testing resources and decide which one best fits your research requirements.
Government and/or Law Enforcement Sites
- United States Department of Labor – drug and alcohol abuse can lead to serious health and safety hazards that can negatively impact productivity and employee morale in the workplace. It can also potentially generate additional costs in the form of health care and short-term disability claims2. All questions about pre-employment drug screening and workplace drug testing will very likely be answered here.
- United States Department of Transportation – this site contains information on the rules related to the alcohol and drug testing of employees holding safety-sensitive positions in trucking, aviation, mass transit, railroads, pipelines and the transportation industry in general.
The Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance3 under this Department publishes all the regulations and provides the official interpretations on alcohol and drug testing; guidelines on how to conduct tests; evaluates the treatment procedures used on employees returning to duty after test violations; and coordinates with the President’s National Drug Control Strategy annually.
- S. Department of Justice – Drug testing on a large scale was first implemented by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) back in the late 1960s to deal with marijuana and heroin use by U.S. military personnel in Vietnam. This ultimately led to the initial developments in urine drug test technology. Drug testing however is used differently in the military and in the workplace when compared to how it is used within the context of the criminal justice system, be it: for prosecution, for compliance with a probation order or pre-trial release, for monitoring participants in drug court programs and treatment etc4.
Research and Information Websites
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – is a Federal scientific research institute under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA funds many global research efforts on drug abuse and addiction, including monitoring of emerging trends in drug use; the effects of drugs on the brain and body; developing and testing new drug abuse prevention and treatment methods; and publishing their findings to the public5. This site also contains general information about the most common drugs of abuse, the physical signs of drug use or addiction, effective drug treatment programs and screening/assessment/drug testing resources6
It is worth mentioning here that the NIDA Archive7 will contain material that are not current but will be of historical value especially to researchers, and/or publications and meeting summaries that go back 5 years or older and may have broken links. Simply go back to the NIDA Home Page if you are looking for current content.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) – this organization began in 1995 as the National Association of Collection Sites and has since expanded its scope to include the elevation and promotion of the standards of professionalism and quality control in the drug and alcohol testing industry8. They develop and oversee education, accreditation and certification programs for the industry, serving also as coordinator regarding matters of industry regulations and the legislation needed to set things in motion; sample collection issues; and drug free workplace rules and regulations. This organization represents over 1500 members that include not just collection sites but also laboratories, MROs, consortiums/TPAs and test equipment manufacturers.
- Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) – SAPAA is a primary resource for information and education. They provide a wealth of information on DOT developments, certification exams, strategic planning, drug and alcohol testing and legal and ethical issues9.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – is the agency mandated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to lead public health efforts towards the advancement of behavioral health within the U.S with the primary objective of reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.10 The SAMHSA is responsible for setting the initial and confirmatory cut-off concentrations for Analytes during drug testing.
Health/Medical and Non-profit Organizations
- Partnership for Drug-free Kids – Originally founded in 1987 as partnership for a Drug-free America, this non-profit organization works to reduce teen substance abuse and support families affected by alcohol or drug addiction11. They are composed of parent coaches and scientific advisors seeking to change attitudes about drug and alcohol use, to educate individuals about the health risks and to effect a change in behaviors.
- American Association of Medical Review Officers (AAMRO) – A medical society founded in 1991 dedicated to establishing standards and certifications on a national level for medical practitioners and other professionals in the field of drug and alcohol testing12.
- Mayo Clinic13/WebMD14 – and other reliable Health websites provide valuable health information and tools, including those needed to address problems related to drugs and drug testing in general. These resources are backed by credible and timely response from clinical practitioners who provide their expertise in a consultative capacity.
The websites listed above are some of the best and most reliable online sources of information on drug testing. This short list considerably reduces the amount of time one would usually spend looking for the information they need.