During my years in the industry it has been evident that alcohol testing receives less emphasis and publicity than drug testing. This is most interesting when alcohol is:
- the more widely used substance.
- is legally available and thus more accessible.
- is easier to detect or test for.
- is more accepted by workplaces and community as a risk which needs to be managed.
I must conclude that alcohol testing receives the least exposure because:
- Alcohol testing is generally considered secondary in importance to drug testing by the service providers and manufacturers.
- Alcohol testing is less controversial so it generates less debate or dispute in a workplace.
- Media tends to focus on drug use, drug prevalence and testing of same. It is more sensational and makes for “better reading”.
For workplaces conducting a testing program, the importance of the alcohol testing must not be overlooked. The fact that it is easier to test for, and less contentious should be reason enough to make it a priority. It is a shame that economics (or profits) sometimes drive the emphasis on drug testing.
With the great prevalence of alcohol use it would surely be beneficial for all workplaces to test for alcohol at double, triple, or more than the volume of drug testing conducted.