In a bit of whimsy, words from Aretha Franklin’s song “Think” come to mind when discussing appropriate methods for identifying drug and alcohol sample donors. Franklin, always popular when she visits Australia, vigorously proclaims in the chorus, “You better think about what you’re trying to do to me.” At one point in the song, she also belts out, “People walking around every day, playing games, taking scores…” Franklin could be singing about the people who try to cheat on their drug and alcohol tests. They will go to great lengths to pass the tests in order to get a job or prevent the loss of one. The sample collector would probably like to tell each donor to “…stop and think before you think…” and avoid attempting tricks, but in the interest of appropriateness will instead follow careful procedures to ensure saliva or urine samples are true and are marked properly so there are no mix-ups.
People do play a lot of games, and employers must be aware of how they are played. A lot of time is spent discussing the importance of using high quality drug and alcohol testing equipment and following careful collection sample collection. However, equally important steps in the process are the initial donor identification procedures. Instead of asking people to think before cheating, the collector may very well first ask, “Are you really you?” In other words, is the person presenting for the test really who he or she says she is?
All May Not Be as it Seems
These may seem like obvious questions but consider this: How do you know the person showing up for pre-employment testing at a sample collection site is the same person who will be hired? How does a sample collector in a large company know the person showing up at the collection site is the right person? Though it may seem unlikely, there have been attempts in the past to pass a drug test by letting someone else show up for the test. For this reason, employers should never take someone’s word as to their identification. A fake ID is one in which a legal ID has been altered in some manner or is illegally reproduced. It is illegal to make or use a fake ID or to attempt to pass off a legal ID that belongs to someone else.i
Proper identification includes a driver’s licence, proof of age card, a passport, or any state or territory issued photo ID. Employers should be familiar with the Keypass, mostly so they recognise it if it is presented.ii It is issued by a private company to people who do not have other photo identification like a driver’s licence. However, since it is not government regulated or issued, it is entirely up to the testing company as to whether it is accepted as proof of identity. If the person already works for the business and is subjected to random drug and alcohol testing selection, an employee identification card is also acceptable.
What is not an acceptable identification? Personal identification by friends or co-workers should be should not be accepted. This is particularly true for a safety-sensitive employee. Safety must always be a top priority in any business. Non-photo identification should not be accepted, nor should documents that are not original. Accepting copies of identification increases the risk that someone is impersonating another person or is trying to avoid detection for some reason.
It is a sad fact of life that there are people who will go to great lengths to pass drug and alcohol tests. Employers must recognise proper identification and institute policies that identify acceptable documentation. Anyone unable to produce the right type of identification should not be tested. The one thing employers will not have to worry about once samples are collected and sent to Mediscreen (http://mediscreen.net.au/) is proper documentation. The documentation and processes have been thoroughly evaluated by experts as to their appropriateness in the chain of custody.
”Fake Identification Cards,” Lawstuff, National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, http://www.lawstuff.org.au/sa_law/topics/fake-ids.
“Keypass,” (2013), accessed June 13, 2013, http://www.keypass.com.au/.