Drug Testing for Employees Working for Security Companies

Companies that provide security guards and patrol services are grouped under NAICS 561612. These establishments are engaged in providing security and patrol services, including bodyguard services, guard services, guard dog services, patrol services, parking security services, personal and property protection services, security guard services except investigation services, armored car services, and security system services. This particular sector is under Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services sector, which is a part of the Professional and Business Services super sector.

Clients or customers of security companies include government, finance and education institutions; industrial and commercial establishments; and retail businesses. As of May 2016, there are 1,102,500 individuals employed as security guards across the United States. The average hourly compensation for employees of security companies is about $12.43 per hour, with a mean annual salary of $25,840.00.

Members of the security and patrol guards sector are not immune to the illicit substance use problem that affects American society. There is no actual data on the prevalence of drug and alcohol use in this sector but based on general statistics, the past month illicit drug use for people 18 to 64 years old and working under “other” services except public administration is 11.2%.

There is a notion that security guards do not go through strict character and drug screening and that there are no full regulations pertaining as to who qualifies to work as a security guard. It must be understood that security guards are not exactly trained military personnel and police officers, a large percentage of security and patrol personnel have former police or military experience. On the other hand, there are security personnel who take on the job for their resume when applying for a job in the law enforcement and military sectors. It is important that owners of security companies implement drug testing in the workplace not only to meet Federal requirements but uphold the reputation and credibility of the industry.

Sourcing Illicit Drugs and Alcohol

A 2012 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) survey indicated that close to 24 million Americans were into psychotherapeutic or illicit drugs. The number of users increase is parallel to the growth of the drug trade in the U.S. If a user introduces a drug to a new user, and this cycle continues, then the demand grows as the circle of users grows. The drug cycle begins and ends with manufacturing.

Majority of illegal substance such as cocaine come from other parts of the world. However, America has its homegrown drug supply too. “Imported” drugs mostly come from South and Central America, entering the United States via Mexico.

About 90% of the world’s supply of heroin comes from Afghanistan, but a 2013 report indicated that only 4% of heroin in the United States is sourced from Afghanistan. According to a 2015 NIDA report, about 6 million Americans age 12 and older have used heroin at least once in their lifetime.

America’s supply of cocaine comes from Columbia, Bolivia and Peru. About 14.50% of the U.S. population age 12 years and older have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime.

America’s main supplier of Marijuana is Mexico. However, there are pockets of domestic growers who make sure that there is ample supply as demand is growing due to the legality of cannabis – pertaining to the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis for medical use. Spice, K2, and other synthetic marijuana are mostly manufactured in China and then exported to other countries.

Majority of prescription drugs are manufactured locally by big pharmaceuticals. The most widely used prescription drugs are opioids, with American consuming about 110 tons of prescription opioids.

The manufacture of alcohol is legal so its use is widespread. A large part of the country’s rum supply comes from the Caribbean whereas vodka is from Russia, while tequila is from Mexico.

Accessibility to alcohol and illegal drugs is unproblematic in the United States.

Importance of Testing Security Guards for Drug Use

Drug and alcohol use and abuse impacts a workplace in four major ways:

  • Fatal accidents and premature death
  • High incidence of accidents and injuries
  • High rate of absenteeism
  • Loss of production and services

Security personnel are tasked to guard, patrol, or supervise properties to deter theft, violations of rules and possible violence. They may be tasked to protect people or money. At some point, they may be given the responsibility to handle and operate metal detector equipment, and x-ray machine. Depending on their qualification, security guards may or may not be carrying a gun.

With this kind of responsibility, maintaining a drug-free workplace is crucial in security companies.  Workplace drug testing is imperative in this case.

A security guard cannot be bringing drugs at work, or be drunk at work.  Drug testing in the workplace may help discourage illicit substance use and abuse. Workplace pre-employment drug testing will help employers prevent the hiring of individuals who use illicit substance. This practice will save the company not only time, but future expenses as consequence of an employee’s drug use. Random workplace drug testing will aid in identifying employees with drug or alcohol abuse problem, and refer them for treatment and rehabilitation. Again this practice will help security companies save money and resources as employees who value their job are not likely to do drugs and abuse alcohol.

Workplace drug testing will help in the prevention, control and rehabilitation of drug and alcohol use and abuse.

Drug Abuse Statistics for Employees

  • Prevalence of alcohol use in the past month for people 26 years old and above is 55.60% of the population in 2015.
  • Illicit drug use in the past month for people 26 years old and above is 8.20% of the population in 2015.
  • Marijuana use in the past month for people 26 years old and above is 6.50% of the population in 2015.
  • Nonmedical use of pain relievers for the same age bracket and time frame is 1.30%, and methamphetamine is at 0.40%.
  • Statistics for employees (18-64 years old) of the Management of Companies and Enterprises, Administrative, Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services (MOC) Industry follows:
    • Illicit Drug Use – 10.9%which is 2.7% higher than all industries average
    • Heavy Alcohol Use – 10.4% which is 1.6% higher than all industries average
    • Illicit Drug Abuse or Dependence – 4.3% which is 1.7% higher than all industries average
    • Alcohol Abuse or Dependence – 12.4% which is 3.2% higher than all industries average

Types of Drug Tests Used in Security Companies

Security companies favor drug tests that provide quick and easy results without compromising on accuracy. Saliva and urine drug tests are most preferred methods as they come in various test panels that are not only convenient to use, but are also cost efficient.

  • Urine Drug Test – Urine drug testing is considered to be the most technologically advanced yet quite affordable drug testing method. However, cup-based drug test kits are more expensive than the urine dip and cassette drug test kits. This test does not require the specialized services of a laboratory technician to facilitate. The results are quick and accurate. Various test panels are available, detecting up to 12 illicit drugs. Window of detection is up to 3 days.
  • Saliva Test – Saliva drug testing is non-invasive. The specimen cannot be easily adulterated, and is easy to collect as a swab in the mouth is all it takes. This test is best for detecting very recent drug use. It can be administered on the spot as there is no need to go to a private area to collect specimen. There are various test panels than can detect up to 8 illicit drugs. Detection window is from a few hours up to a maximum of 2-3 days.
  • Hair Test – Hair follicle drug testing kits have long detection window of up to 90 days or more. This is a non-invasive test that is easy to collect and store. Adulteration is unlikely. This accurate test can detect up to 6 illicit drugs. A laboratory and a qualified lab technician are required to run this test. This test is expensive and takes a few days to get the results. This test may not detect recently used drugs.

The workplace can be an effective and important place to address drug issues and alcoholism problems. This can be done by establishing programs that focus on improving employees’ health, and by implementing drug testing in the workplace. If an employee is into drug or alcohol abuse, this affects not only his employer and co-workers, but his family as well. Through drug testing in the workplace, employers will be able to refer employees with drug or alcohol problems to treatment and rehabilitation centers. Thus the impact of addiction to the workplace and to the affected family will be greatly reduced.

At Confirm BioSciences we offer various drug testing kits for your company’s needs.

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