Drug testing in the recent years has become a widely accepted procedure in the workplace. Employers from various sectors are recognizing its key benefits in their business, particularly in providing a safe work environment and increasing productivity among employees. In the November 2010 issue of HR Magazine, approximately 54 million full-time civilian workers reported that their employer has tested workers for drug use
So, what does that tell you? Plain and simple, there is a sizeable market for the drug testing business
and it’s critical to know the various segments of the industry to realize where you can possibly fit into. These segments are characterized by certain industry players who are referred to as service agents (SA) by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT)
. You’ll be hearing about them more often once you officially dip your hands in the drug testing business. Let’s tackle some of the most common names briefly below:
- Specimen Collectors – also known as the collector. These people are responsible for collecting biological specimens, such as urine, hair, blood, sweat, or saliva. They work directly with the client, the laboratory, the third-party administrators (TPAs) or others to ensure proper collection of the required drug testing samples.
- Third Party Administrators (TPAs) – they are the service providers that offer two or more of the services involved in the drug testing process. In some cases, the TPAs bring together for the employer the entire process of the specimen collection, the laboratory testing, as well as the review and the reporting provided by the Medical Review Officer (MRO). They practically take care of these services to keep both the employer and its clients in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.
- Medical Review Officer (MRO) – the MRO is a licensed physician who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer's drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results. Many TPA’s have in-house MROs working for them.
- Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) and/or Screening Test Technician (STT) – this person is the collector in the alcohol testing process and operates an evidential alcohol breath testing device (breathalyzer) or alcohol screening device. They also work directly with the client, the laboratory, the third party administrator (TPA) or others.
- Instant Testing Manufacturers and Distributors – this group is responsible for supplying instant drug testing products to employers. Currently, there are a good number of manufacturers and distributors specializing in instant home and workplaces test kits, among them is TestCountry.com. The products could range from urine drug testing to alcohol testing to home fertility tests and more.
To familiarize yourself with the rest of the industry players and other frequently-used terms in the drug testing business
, download Joe Reilly’s 2012 white paper, Getting into the Business – Drug & Alcohol Testing. The paper contains meaty information on how to get into the business properly and efficiently. Aside from the common terminologies, it also discusses franchise and business opportunity models and provides additional reading materials to get you started.
Joe Reilly is an expert on workplace drug testing issues. He served for nine years on the DATIA Board of Directors and was Chairman of the Board from 2004–2008. He was the Founder and the former President and CEO of Florida Drug Screening, Inc – a nationwide provider of drug and alcohol testing and drug-free workplace programs – until he sold the business to CBC Companies in 2007. After retiring from the firm in 2009, Joe Reilly continues to actively assist buyers and sellers in the drug testing industry as a private consultant. He regularly provides training and consulting services for people entering the drug and alcohol testing