Randox Toxicology: Highest Percentage of Class A Drug Use in over a Decade

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Randox Toxicology: Highest Percentage of Class A Drug Use in over a Decade

Figures released by the Home Office from the Crime Survey of England and Wales for 2017/2018 showed an 8.4 percent rise in 16-24 year olds using Class A drugs in the last year, compared to 7 percent in 2016/2017. As drugs are becoming more readily available due to the Dark Web, mobile phones and drug gangs, a broader network of distribution has been established and the price of cocaine has fallen.

Cocaine is a strong stimulant that comes in a powder (known as coke), freebase or crack form. With short lived effects, cocaine temporarily speeds up the mind and body. Freebase is a powder cocaine that has been prepared for smoking, whilst crack cocaine comes in a rock form. As both forms of cocaine can be smoked, they reach the brain quicker and have a stronger effect than powder cocaine. Injecting any form of the drug has serious risks including, damaged veins and the spread of blood-borne viruses, such as HIV and Hepatitis C. High doses of cocaine can cause the body temperature to rise, resulting in convulsions, a heart attack and heart failure.

The Telegraph recently reported that the fall in cocaine prices has now led to the highest number of young people using Class A drugs in over a decade, a rise from 4.8 percent in 2012/2013. The United Nation’s 2018 World Drug Report states that the street price for a gram of cocaine in the UK in 2016 was £41, the cheapest figure documented at the time since 1990. Compare this to cocaine prices in 2007 when it was £69 per gram.

“Our young people’s services have seen a significant rise in the use of Class A drugs”. Yasmin Batliwala, chair of London based drug and alcohol treatment charity WDP commented on the issue, “The primary drug of choice has always been alcohol, as well as cannabis, but certainly in the last two or more years the use of Class A drugs has increased substantially.” When cocaine and alcohol have been mixed it can cause particularly dangerous side effects and produce a toxic chemical called cocaethylene.

We have the Solution!

Randox Toxicology’s universally available patented Biochip Array Technology boasts cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities, providing rapid and accurate drug detection from a single sample. Offering excellent cross-reactivity and unrivalled limits of detection, Biochip Array Technology’s intra and inter assay precision is typically <10% giving excellent correlation with confirmatory methods.

Persistently staying ahead of the ever-changing trends, Randox Toxicology are first to market with a range of tests for drugs of abuse, including the cocaine metabolite Benzoylecgonine (BZG). Utilising our Biochip Array Technology, Randox Toxicology’s DoA I, DoA I+, DoA ULTRA/DUID, DoA Evolution and DoA MultiSTAT panels all detect Benzoylecgonine.

Built on a foundation of continuous innovation, our research and development team continue to advance the future of toxicology through pioneering technology and novel tests. Offering the most advanced screening technology on the market, Randox Toxicology has transformed the landscape of drugs of abuse testing forever.

If you would like to find out more information on our unrivalled toxicology test menu, email us at info@randoxtoxicology.com or visit www.randoxtoxicology.com

 

 

 

 

 


Randox Food Diagnostics: Feed Testing in the Meat Industry – Challenges and Solutions

The global meat industry is a multi-billion-dollar business contributing over $85 billion to the US economy alone annually. Globally it is valued at $800 billion and as such, it is one of the biggest industries in the world.

With its already strong position and an ever growing demand for meat products the market shows no sign of slowing down. There are continued demands set on producers to provide not only more meat, but meat at a higher quality. Public awareness on issues such as drug residues, animal rights, food safety and antibiotic resistance is on the rise and as such producers and processors are more and more required to meet stringent requirements.

With the increasing demand on quantity and quality the industry faces many challenges and one the key areas of interest in this production chain is the monitoring of residues.

Residues in food relates to the residual amount of a particular compound either administered to an animal as a veterinary treatment or a naturally occurring compound present in food for human consumption.

There are a number of potential issues that can arise from contaminated feed and it is important for producers to ensure that animal feed has little or no trace of residues of mycotoxins, growth promoters or veterinary drugs.

Veterinary drugs are often added to feed to be used as a method of treating livestock, producers therefore must be sure of the dosage to ensure that withdrawal periods are correctly adhered to. Mycotoxins may also be present in feed due to a number of environmental factors, this can have a negative impact of the livestock.

The Mycotoxin Threat

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by fungi, commonly known as moulds, which can have a harmful effect on humans and livestock. These moulds are of interest to producers because they have the potential for significant economic losses due to how they impact human health, animal productivity and international trading.

Mycotoxins can be present in a wide variety of foods and feeds and are a particular threat in areas with climates of high temperature and humidity. They can enter the food or feed chain through contaminated crops, in particular cereals, poultry meat and kidneys, pig kidneys and pork sausages. Contamination may also occur post-harvest during storage, transport, and processing stages of the food or feed supply chain.

The establishment of mycotoxin limits and regulations have been set by multiple food agencies worldwide.  For example the EU 2002-32 Directive sets maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for substances that are present in, or on, animal feed that have the potential to pose danger to animal or human health, to the environment, or could have an undesirable affect to livestock production.

One type of livestock that can be significantly impacted by mycotoxins are pigs. Pig feed contaminated with mycotoxins can cause serious risks to pig health.

For example, Aflatoxins consumed by swine can expose non-clinical characteristics with low level exposure (20 to 200 ppb), inducing symptoms displayed such as feed avoidance, gastrointestinal disturbances, paleness and slower growth. It can also suppress the immune system and cause young piglets to become more susceptible to bacterial, viral or parasitic diseases. With prolonged exposure causing a greater risk of cancer, liver damage and jaundice.  High concentrations of aflatoxin (1,000 to 5,000 ppb) result in acute effects, including death. It is a genotoxic carcinogen and suitably its levels have been set as low as realistically possible in complete feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry with a maximum content value of 0.02.

Zearalenone is another mycotoxin that can have a negative impact on livestock. Produced by a strain of Fusarium graminearum it has been listed under the Directive with a guidance value. It has an estrogeneous action and is significantly toxic to the reproductive system of animals with the potential to cause rectal and vaginal prolapses in gilts (young sows). Zearalenone has been allocated a suggested guidance value of 0.1ppm in complementary and complete feeding stuffs for piglets and gilts and 0.25ppm in feedstuffs for sows and fattening pigs.

With the risk from multiple Mycotoxins in animal feed it is important to be able to detect dangerous levels of each listed in the EU Directive in order to reduce instances of damage to animal health.

Growth Promoters

Growth promoters are often used in the meat industry to increase yield of livestock, an important tool considering the increased demand on quantity from the food chain. Some of these growth promoters however are known to have a negative impact on both animal and human health.

The presence of anabolic steroids including beta agonists such as Clenbuterol and Ractopamine, as well as other veterinary drugs is under a strict monitoring program in meat and animal feed to prevent these negative impacts.

Growth promoting drugs are used to induce weight but can have various health concerns such as such as hospitalisation with reversible symptoms of increased heart rate, muscular tremors, headache, nausea, fever, and chills.

The potential human health risks highlight the importance of complete food safety testing before a food product reaches the public.

Veterinary Drugs

Due to the nature of the conditions livestock is generally kept in, there is a high potential for infection and spread of viruses. Producers need to be aware and proactive in treating any veterinary disease that arises.

One such disease that can be an issue is coccidiosis which is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract. This disease can be spread by contact with infected faeces, or the ingestion of infected tissues by other animals. Coccisiostats are potent drugs which are widely used within veterinary practice to treat coccidiosis, mainly in feed additives. Chickens are susceptible to at least 11 species of coccidia that causes coccidiosis therefore creating an importance to treat for. Coccisiostat residues that occur in high levels within food for human consumption can be unsafe and can have negative effects on pre-existing coronary conditions/diseases. These residues can pass through the meat tissue and eggs.

The Solution

With a variety of potential residues to be detected and a need for accurate results many producers are using Randox Food Diagnostics technology to carry out sample analysis.

With the development of the patented Biochip Array Technology Randox have consolidated the testing of multiple residues down to one sample which means time and cost saving for the meat industry. For example, with one Biochip a meat producer’s laboratory could test for 9 different growth promoter residues.

The technology centres on the Biochip, a 9mm2 ceramic chip which acts as the reaction well where samples are placed, requiring little technical expertise for preparation. Each chip is spotted with the antibodies required to detect the individual analytes being tested for and can accommodate up to 43 analytes. Food laboratories can then detect 43 different residues with one test.

The biochip works on the Evidence Investigator (Semi-Automated) and Evidence MultiSTAT(Automated) analysers. These analysers are used as the imaging stations for the biochips. Each spotted test site sends out a chemiluminescent signal which is detected by the analyser, processed, quantified and validated by the instrument software.

With a simple process, fast method and trusted results many of the world’s top meat producers are investing in Biochip Array Technology to ensure the safety and quality of their products.

For more information please contact us at: info@randoxfooddiagnostics.com.

 

 

 


RTS: Back-to-Lab Testing

Randox Testing Services offers high quality drug testing with use of our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology specifically optimised for drugs of abuse testing. This technology allows multiplex back-to-lab testing of different drugs from one sample and offers test consolidation for comprehensive testing at an affordable price.

With a comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu we are able to test for a range of different drugs. Drug testing packages can be customised to include multiple different drugs to test per sample.

Our drug testing methods ensure fast and simple sample collection. We have a variety of non-invasive methods for patient comfort including use of a urine sample, hair strand or oral fluid sample to test for specified drugs. Utilisation of different testing methods also ensures flexibility of drug abuse profiling with the ability to offer short-term drug abuse profiling via oral fluid and urine testing, long-term drug abuse profiling via hair testing or a combination of both.

 

Oral Fluid Testing

An oral fluid test can detect drugs for up to 48 hours after consumption. Providing analysis of short-term drug abuse, an oral fluid drug test is used by employers conducting for-cause and post-incident testing, as well as medico-legal solicitors who may require testing for abstinence of drugs.

An oral fluid test consists of obtaining a saliva sample from between the cheek and gums to analyse traces of drugs. This sample method is reliable due to the high concentrations of drug components which remain in the oral cavity for a period of time after drug consumption. Sample collection is taken quickly, easily and is non-invasive. The sample collection is also observed which ensures samples are not tampered with.

 

Urine Testing

A urine test offers short-term detection of substance abuse. Alcohol is detectable in urine for less than 12 hours, and a urine drug test can detect traces of drugs from between 4 hours and up to 8 days (this may be extended for regular cannabis users to around 30 days). It is often used in a combination with hair testing to provide an enhanced time-line for drug and alcohol detection; therefore allowing analysis of chronic substance abuse.

As a simple and practical method it is used as the most common sample type for workplace drug and alcohol testing. It is also utilised when conducting family law testing to ensure no alcohol intake by someone who has been forbidden to consume alcohol by a court of law or someone who is on a drugs or alcohol rehabilitation program.

A urine test consists of gaining a urine sample from the individual securely. Due to the nature of the urine sample being deposited privately by the sample donor, measures need to be taken to ensure the sample is not tampered with. At Randox Testing Services samples are collected under strict chain of custody protocols to guarantee sample integrity for legally defensible testing. We also increase accuracy of results by testing for creatinine which is a simple method of testing the authenticity of the sample given and reduces false-negative results giving you confidence in these testing methods.

Hair Testing

Hair testing is a long-term substance abuse profiling with a detection window of 90+ days. It is commonly used by recruiters and employers conducting pre-employment screening and is the most common sample type used for substance abuse assessment in child protection and medico-legal cases.

Hair testing involves taking a hair stand sample from an individual to detect if and approximately when someone has consumed drugs or alcohol. A 3cm sample is generally used to obtain a longer analysis of substance abuse.

When a drug is taken it is absorbed into the blood stream and circulated around the body. As a result it is incorporated into the hair follicle meaning that as the hair grows, drugs are transferred into the hair strand. It can take up to 2 weeks for drug components to enter the hair and therefore analysis of a 3cm sample is recommended.

Analysis of the hair strand allows traces of drugs to be detected to provide an overall picture of drug abuse or a month by month analysis. Segmentation of the hair sample to provide a detailed month-on-month view is advantageous as it can highlight trends of drug use and identify periods of abstinence or high level use. Body hair can be used in special circumstances however segmentation into a month by month analysis is not possible.

 

Randox Testing Services

Through utilising innovative multiplex drug and alcohol screening methods as well as LC/GC mass spectrometry confirmatory analysis our complete service guarantees reliable and accurate results.

For more information on our back-to-lab testing services contact us at testingservices@randox.com to speak with one of our experts.

 

 

 

 


RCLS: The Future of Outsourcing

Randox Clinical Laboratory Services (RCLS) utilises the expertise and knowledge that Randox has built up over 35 years producing high quality IVD products. We strive to provide a clinical laboratory service to meet the time sensitive, bespoke requirements of research and clinical projects globally.

Moving away from traditional single analyte assays, Biochip Array Technology (BAT) boosts cutting edge multiplex capabilities. Biochip Array Technology provides a unique platform for assessment of biological samples in a rapid, accurate and easy to use format and users can have the utmost confidence in this proven technology.

Our technology facilitates the simultaneous quantitative or qualitative detection of a wide range of analytes, providing a rapid and accurate diagnosis from a single patient sample. As well as having time and cost saving benefits, which drive towards an increase in clinical performance, testing for multiple markers given a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s condition.

By RCLS utilising the innovative Biochip Array Technology that Randox have created, we are able to avail the Evidence Evolution.  The Evidence Evolution is the world’s first fully automated random access biochip testing platform. It sets new standards in diagnostic quality and efficiency to deliver precise results quickly and economically. With the capability to process up to 2,640 tests per hour, the Evidence Evolution offers complete system integration, as well as the most comprehensive multiplex test menu on the market.

Overall, the Evidence Evolution provides benefits that allows us to offer you a cost effective, labour saving and time reducing solution for your sample testing. Randox Clinical Laboratory Services also utilise the wide array of Randox analysers, both clinical and Immunoassay, several third party analysers are also used by RCLS.

To find out more information on what Randox Clinical Laboratory Services has to offer email us at info@rcls.com

 

 

 


RTS: The Dangers of Psychoactive Substances

Psychoactive substances, formerly known as legal highs, are substances which produce the same or similar effects as many illegal drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. With many psychoactive substances it is extremely difficult to know their potency and therefore how they will affect the user.

They are divided into four main groups:

Sedatives – Cause reduced concentration and slowing of reactions, leading user to feel physically unsteady and lethargic.

Hallucinogenic – These substances cause psychedelic reactions which can lead the user to act erratically, putting their own safety at risk.

Stimulants – Substance temporarily causes increase in alertness and energy, while also putting a strain on the nervous system.

Synthetic Cannabinoids – Large doses can lead to life-threatening intoxication. Also effects the central nervous system causing seizures, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and increased body temperature.

Incidents

Last month two men were arrested and jailed for four and a half years for selling psychoactive substances. The offences were committed in Scotland and eight of the men’s customers needed hospital treatment after taking the substances.

Free samples and loyalty cards were used by the men selling the psychoactive substances and two users were left in comas after taking a substance known as Psyclone. Court was told that the shops took in as much as £2,500 in sales every day.

The sister of a man who died from taking psychoactive substances said it changed her brother “mentally and physically.” BBC Scotland was told that he started dabbling with psychoactive substances because he believed they were legal. “Some of them were a substitute of heroin, others to mimic the effects of cannabis. He became very withdrawn with the family and just wanted to stay away.”

 

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we reacted to the issues caused by psychoactive substances by releasing the world’s first Synthetic Cannabinoids (JWH/AM) and ‘Bath Salt’s’ (MPDV) tests in 2012. This enables companies to test for popular types of psychoactive substances and showed that it was possible to detect these substances.

However as new psychoactive substances emerged new tests also had to be created and next generation Synthetic Cannabinoids tests (UR144 and JWH250) were released in 2013. These tests represented a milestone in the fight against the highly dangerous psychoactive substances and provided a way for laboratories and companies to stay on top of the developing drug trends.

Psychoactive Substances we currently screen for;

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, in the endless pursuit of creating innovative tests for new and emerging psychoactive substances, our expertise sets us apart from the rest of the industry. We will continue to develop our test menus and grow our range of tests.

For more information contact us today at testingservices@randox.com.

 

 

 

 

 


Biochip vs ELISA: Which testing platform is right for me?

Biochip Vs ELISA

Randox Toxicology’s latest video series, ‘Biochip Vs ELISA’, highlights our routine and novel ELISA products and how they differ from Biochip Array Technology.

Showcasing the journey and ongoing brand evolution of Randox Toxicology, these videos will help you to discover which method is right for you!

Episode 1: Meet ELISA

Episode 1 “Meet ELISA” uses speed reading to showcase Randox Toxicology’s extensive and ever-expanding ELISA test menu, including our range of New Psychoactive Substances, drugs of abuse, stimulants, analgesics and sedatives. Manufactured in the United Kingdom, our continuous reinvestment in research and development has enabled us to develop a range of exclusive ELISA kits such as, Mitragynine, MT-45, and U-47700 which was involved in the death of the famous singer Prince.

 

Our cost effective ELISA kits are the highest quality on the market and results provide excellent correlation with confirmatory methods, typically <10% CV.

Episode 2: Meet Biochip

Based on ELISA principles, Episode 2 “Meet Biochip” illustrates Biochip Array Technology as a solid-state device with discrete test sites onto which antibodies specific to different drug compounds are immobilised and stabilised. Moving away from traditional single analyte assays, Biochip Array Technology boasts cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities for rapid and accurate drug detection from a single sample.

As the primary manufacturers of Biochip Array Technology, Randox Toxicology offer the most advanced screening technology on the market. With the world’s largest test menu capable of detecting over 500 drugs, Randox Toxicology are changing the landscape of drugs of abuse testing.

Episode 3: Biochip Vs ELISA

Episode 3 “Biochip Vs ELISA” gives you the opportunity to hear from a professional! Laura Keery our Senior Research and Development Team Leader gives you a behind the scenes look at our Biochip Array Technology and ELISA products in action at our new Science Park, answering some of those must know questions.

Episode 4: Biochip Vs ELISA 360-Degrees

If you missed it at SOFT-TIAFT 2017, our Biochip Vs ELISA 360-degree video allows you to experience Biochip and ELISA in action.

Discover which method is right for you! #biochipvselisa

For more information about our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology and ELISA kits, email info@randoxtoxicology.com or visit www.randoxtoxicology.com

 

 

 

 

 


Randox Testing Services | How can a policy form the basis of workplace drug & alcohol testing?

If you work in a company with safety-critical roles it is more than likely that you have some sort of workplace drug and alcohol testing policy in place. Even companies without safety-critical roles are implementing these policies to further ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff.

Employers hold the responsibility to ensure employees are fully aware of the company’s rules, regulations, testing and disciplinary procedures.

The policy itself holds vital importance, providing employees with the knowledge of the standards expected of them, whilst educating themselves with information provided in a written comprehensive manner.

The importance of implementing a policy

The most important element of a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy is SAFETY. Drug and alcohol use increases the probability of workplace accidents occurring. Studies have found that employees who have alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have an accident whilst at work. The main issues associated with substance misuse relate to:

  • Absenteeism – it’s estimated that 17 million days of work are lost per year due to substance misuse.
  • Low productivity levels – employees may reduce output in different tasks and become de-motivated.
  • Inappropriate behaviour – some cases of substance abuse may lead to crime.
  • Aggressive behaviour towards others – resulting in loss of employment / convictions

It’s evident that many who suffer from drug & alcohol abuse are in employment. Studies show 25% of those in employment were registered drug addicts with 3.3% of all adults aged 16-59 classified as frequent users.

Significant issues such as these provide growing concerns for employers to implement a workplace drug and alcohol policy, to ensure the welfare of each member of staff is considered. Under the Health & Safety Act 1874, employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees is fully met in order to maintain standards.

The importance of a workplace policy for drugs and alcohol can benefit employers by:

  • Building relationships with employees by showing there is help and support available.
  • Policies can raise awareness of issues in the business and can encourage staff members to take action if needed.
  • It can reduce the number of sick employees, reduce staff turnover and increase productivity levels.

Speak with us directly

We understand that the importance of having a policy that suits the specific needs of your company. In order to fully achieve this, we offer a free policy review service, where we will review your company’s existing documentation to gain an understanding of how we can help going forward.

We are delighted to announce we will be attending the Safety & Health Expo 2018. The annual event, running from 19th – 21st June and held at the Excel London, is the UK’s largest health and safety event with over 13,500 national and international key industry professionals across construction, manufacturing, government and consulting.

By attending this prestigious event we hope to engage with a range of stakeholders to discuss how our drug & alcohol testing services can have a positive impact on your employees and business.

If you are attending this event and would like to speak with us, please stop by our stand M410 to speak with one of our experts.

Alternatively, if you would like to arrange a meeting with us prior to the event, please email us: testingservices@randox.com, and quote Safety & Health Expo 2018 at the beginning of your message.

For more information on workplace drug & alcohol testing, visit www.randoxtestingservices.com.

 


RCLS: Flexibility and Quality at the Core of Service

Randox Clinical Laboratory Services is a dedicated group of laboratories across the United Kingdom with plans to expand across the world. All of the clinical laboratories are purpose built to deal with the bespoke needs of research and clinical projects. Currently we have laboratories situated in Antrim, Holywood, Liverpool and London.

Flexibility and quality are at the core of our service offering and our experienced team are available to support and advise at each step of a project to ensure deadlines are met and high quality data is delivered in the most cost efficient manner.

Specialising in biomarker and multiplex testing in addition to standard safety and clinical testing, RCLS provides a full laboratory service to accelerate your project to completion. Our patented and globally recognised Biochip Array Technology (BAT), provides multiplex testing solutions in an accurate and precise format. Vast expertise in in-house antibody and assay development also allows for customised assays to be incorporated into your testing.

A key focus for RCLS, utilising this technology (BAT) and the ability to customise, is esoteric/niche biomarker analysis within clinical trials. Randox has been providing custom assay design, development and manufacturing services to the diagnostic, pharmaceutical, contract research and biotech industries for many years. This also includes fully customised human and animal quality control sera. We have the facilities to design a novel multiplex biochip tailored to each customer’s requirements taking into account sample types, available sample volumes and expected ranges for various analytes of interest.

Our assay development specialists will endeavour to work with you to ensure your needs are constantly met and provide a smooth process from the time of your first enquiry through to final delivery.

If you would like more information on RCLS please contact info@rcls.com


Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Medico-legal Market

Medico-legal testing for drugs and alcohol may be required by various professional bodies involved in child custody cases, care proceedings or child protection cases. In cases regarding divorce and children, a dispute may arise during the process of discussions involving the custody of children. In these cases drug and alcohol testing may be sought if there has been a substance abuse claim against a parent fighting for custody or visitation. In cases relating to child protection, social services may seek drug and alcohol testing if child welfare claims have been made regarding suspected substance misuse.

Normally in medico-legal cases a hair sample would be tested as it provides the longest detection window.

 

Why is Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-legal Cases Important?

Drug and alcohol testing is important to ensure child protection from the detrimental effects of parental substance misuse and to ensure they have a quality of life they deserve. In addition it is also important to enable parents the opportunity to get the help and support they need and begin rehabilitation treatment.

Doing the right thing by the child is the main priority, and where possible parent and child relationships are sought to be maintained. Drug and alcohol testing assists in these efforts and in such cases abstinence monitoring testing may be required to assess a parent’s recovery e.g. if a visitation case is being reassessed.

 

Our Expertise

At Randox Testing Services we provide drug and alcohol testing to all professionals within the family law and medico-legal sector. Our hair drug testing service utilises accredited testing methods and is made more cost-effective through utilising patented testing methods developed by Randox.

We understand the impact a positive result can have on a parent, child, and extended family and ensure results of the highest precision and accuracy. With over 35 years’ experience in the diagnostic industry we have gained reputation as a trusted provider.

Our drug and alcohol testing solutions are flexible and can be tailored to our customer needs with a choice of testing methods. We offer a comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu and our service also includes expert witness reporting where applicable.

 

Contact Us

To speak to one of our experts about hair drug testing contact enquiries@randoxtesting.com or call +44 (0) 161 741 2760. We work with companies within the medico-legal sector along with a wide range of workplaces and also private individuals.

For further information on RTS, or to arrange interviews, please contact the Randox PR team via email: randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413


Addressing Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

Within any business, companies seek to outline clear methods in which employees should act and behave whilst carrying out their roles. These rules are outlined in company workplace policies. Every business – no matter which industry it operates in – should have well-documented and comprehensive workplace policies and procedures in place.

According to the Employment Law Handbook, a workplace policy is a set of rules and principles that aims to provide guidance to managers and workers in how to behave in the workplace. They can be in place for numerous different issues – bullying, harassment, internet use, health and safety are just a few that can be implemented.

Health and Safety

As mentioned above, health and safety is an important aspect of any workplace policy. The health and well-being of the working community is of utmost importance for sustainable development. Specifically, a drug and alcohol policy is a key part of the overall health and safety policy within a company. Alcohol and drugs through their effects on health, safety, work performance and absenteeism can jeopardise productivity, deny businesses the leading edge and curtail competitiveness. Effectively implemented drug and alcohol policies will help employers in the legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees.

The need for a Drug and Alcohol Policy

Drugs and alcohol misuse can have dangerous consequences within the workplace. All organisations can benefit from an agreed policy that applies to all staff. There are wide range of statistics available to highlight the worrying impact that drugs and alcohol can have on individuals. In 2016, it was estimated that £7 billion was lost in productivity through unemployment and sickness. Furthermore, 10.8 million adults in England are drinking at levels that pose some risk to their health. A survey carried out by UK based Health and Safety Consultants Protecting.co.uk showed that; from 2,600 workers in office, factory, retail and the public sector, 85% admit to being drunk at work in the last year; not including the Christmas party. 28% of those surveyed admitted using drugs at work, including NPS (formerly legal highs) cannabis and other illegal substances.

From a legal point of view, employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of employees. Also, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to assess the risks to the health and safety of employees. If an employer knowingly allows an employee under the influence of drug misuse to continue working and his/her behaviour places the employee or others at risk, they may face prosecution.

 Advantages of having Policies in place

Having well-developed policies and procedures can provide a range of benefits to an organisation. An effectively implemented drug and alcohol policy will ensure a clear understanding within the workplace of the rules relating to drugs and alcohol. It will also provide a greater awareness in workplaces of the effects of drugs and alcohol an consequently early recognition. Furthermore, it ensures that the necessary structures and procedures are in place should a problem arise. An up to date policy will also provide assurance that key staff have been trained to understand the issues involved and have the necessary skills to deal with any problems should they arise.

How can Randox Testing Services help?

At Randox Testing Services we offer a comprehensive consultancy service to help employers create, an effective substance misuse policy. By providing this service we offer practical advice, guidance and support in composing a substance misuse policy.

Our confidential policy review service provides assistance to employers with an existing substance misuse policy. With this service, we help to modify existing documents to ensure it is legally viable and can withstand challenge in court.

For more information on our comprehensive consultancy service, visit our website: www.randoxtestingservices.com or contact us by emailing testingservices@randox.com.

To read more on workplace policies and their importance within an organisation, click here.

 


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