One of the best ways to determine whether or not a drug-screening program is successful is to conduct an annual audit. Audits will show which areas of the program are weakest, and which areas are strongest, so that the weakest areas can be corrected for the following year; else the program will not be as effective as it could be for those people who need it the most.
Here are four standards by which a drug treatment program can be evaluated on an annual basis:
1. Audit the Service Agents
A program is only as good as those who help run it, so you want to make sure your service agents are following the proper protocols. Service agents include laboratories, specimen collectors, medical review officers (MROs), alcohol technicians, substance abuse professionals (SAPs), and third-party administrators (TPAs). Companies may find that they have more of a support staff when they collaborate with internal stakeholders, rather than those who operate on their own, so if your company needs more assistance, consider branching out.
2. Ensure Adequate Supervisor and Employee Training
Similar to the point above, the program is only as good as those in charge of it, and the best way to ensure that only qualified professionals are running a program is to make sure they are up to date on all of their training. Policy should be clearly communicated and enforced to employees, and it is crucial that supervisors be properly trained on recognizing the signs and symptoms of drug abuse.
Properly trained supervisors are invaluable to the team because they can pick up on changes in their employees that are out of the norm and maybe pinpoint a problem before it gets out of hand. Conversely, in a worst-case scenario, supervisors can be held personally liable for not taking action or, at the very least, take on the burden of guilt that comes from doing nothing when a problem was suspected.
3. Keep the Standard Operating Manual Up to Date
For some reason, one of the most important things a business can have is an up-to-date, clearly worded operations manual; yet most companies consider this to be one of their least important projects and, as a result, it ends up on the back burner. A thorough and relevant Standard Operating Procedures manual is the foundation of any drug and alcohol testing program worth its salt.
4. Make Sure the Program’s Policy is Clearly Written
Just as important as having all of the company’s operations procedures updated and in one place in an operations manual, so too is it necessary to have a policy in place that is both strong and well-written. Equally important to outlining and explaining the policy is enforcing it. Offer potential situations to everyone affected by the policy, explaining how the company would handle each of those scenarios so that employees know what to expect if they should end up in one of them.
In the event that one of these scenarios does, in fact, present itself, companies should always have an effective investigation process in place to help them learn the facts surrounding what happened and to help those supervisors in charge know what evidence they need to collect and how they need to collect it in order to support their claim and properly investigate the incident.