Drug testing – what’s the safest way to carry out screening and maintain social distancing?

19.05.2020

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Drug testing – what’s the safest way to screen and maintain social distancing?

 Dr Paul Yates, Director, Intelligent Fingerprinting

Despite the current lockdown and the inevitable focus on COVID-19 testing, the requirements for regular drug testing haven’t gone away.

Logistics firms and supermarkets are recruiting thousands of new drivers and warehouse staff to support the increased demand for home delivery. And, while rapid recruitment is obviously important, logistics firms still need to follow their company drug policies and testing processes to help ensure the health and safety of employees, customers and the general public. As workers begin to return to construction sites, companies need to be sure their employees are fit for duty. For social care and health charities supporting drug rehabilitation programmes, regular testing also remains an important part of their service provision and needs to continue through the lockdown.

Across multiple workplace sectors, organisations face the challenge of how to support social distancing during drug testing – while also making sure that these operations are conducted hygienically to protect staff. The Government advises that precautions need to be taken to lower the risks of transmission. Current guidelines recommend:

  • Trying to keep a 2m distance from other people
  • Minimising the amount of time you spend in close contact
  • Avoiding being face-to-face with people from outside your household
  • If possible, wearing a face covering when in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible

Unlike traditional drug testing methods – such as oral fluid tests that work by collecting an individual’s saliva, or urine tests which involve handling of messy samples – the fingerprint method directly addresses social distancing concerns, enabling hygienic testing to be carried out while social distancing, and while wearing a face mask if required. Our fingerprint sweat drug test is quick and easy, ensuring that:

  • Users can self-administer their own fingerprint sample collection, allowing them to keep at least 2m away from the tester
  • Sample collection takes just one minute and results are available in 10 minutes, removing the need for prolonged close proximity during testing
  • Fingerprint collection is both non-invasive and hygienic – with no requirement for oral swabs or urine sample collection, removing the need for close face-to-face contact or handling of biohazardous body fluids
  • And because there’s no requirement for the test administrator to collect an oral swab from the mouth, people taking a fingerprint-based drug test can continue to wear a protective face mask throughout the process

In addition, because fingerprint-based drug tests are portable and particularly simple to administer, there’s no need for any special preparation before testing. Organisations can run the testing programme themselves in a safe location, removing the need to have external service providers coming onto site to carry out sample collections and testing.

One organisation that has already recognised the benefits of fingerprint drug tests as a way to maintain testing, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, is Change Grow Live, the UK’s leading provider of drug and alcohol treatment services. Change Grow Live was determined to evolve its approach in order to maintain service provision, and sees the Intelligent Fingerprinting system as an ideal way of reducing the risk of infection for its vulnerable service users through social distancing, while also protecting colleagues across the country. Read more about the project here “Fingerprint drug test adopted across 50 sites by drug rehabilitation service to reduce Coronovirus risk”.

Social distancing-compliant drug testing – how it works in practice
Fingerprint-based testing is really simple, easy to operate and hygienic to use. The test supervisor and the person being tested can remain socially distant at all times.

All the user has to do is take the fingerprint drug screening cartridge from its sealed-foil wrapper, press all ten fingerprints in succession onto the sample pad, and then slide the tamper-evident locking cover across to protect the sample from any interference. The user then steps away to allow the tester to collect the cartridge and insert it into Intelligent Fingerprinting’s DSR-Plus mobile reader. Results are available in 10 minutes.

To find out more about how fingerprint drug screening can help you maintain safe and socially distant drug testing, please contact me on paul.yates@intelligentfingerprinting.com

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