RANDOM DRUG TEST MANAGEMENT2017-12-11T22:04:18+00:00


Rapid Check Screening Services offers unparalleled program management and support for random drug testing programs. Our support tools are designed to maximize our random program diligence while minimizing administrative effort.

Random, or “spot,” drug testing is a strong deterrent to drug users because it is conducted on an unannounced basis. Using a random selection process (e.g., computer-generated), an employer selects one or more individuals from all the employees included in the employer’s workplace drug-testing program. By using a random selection process, employers ensure that there is no bias and that all employees have an equal chance of being selected, even those who have been drug tested recently. Random drug testing can be more effective at detecting and deterring drug use than pre-employment testing because employees do not know when they may be selected for testing.

Random drug testing works best when combined with a pre-employment testing program that’s designed to keep drug users from being hired in the first place. Both reasons for testing should be included in the company’s employee drug testing policy, and to whatever degree is appropriate, should be openly shared with applicants and employees – as just having a program in place is an effective means of discouraging drug use.

Drug testing can help to improve employee morale and productivity while decreasing absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover and theft. Because every business and workforce is unique, every employer should make a careful determination about the drug testing program elements that are most beneficial for their workplace.


Random Drug Test FAQs

A pool refers to a group of individuals subject to a specific set of random selection parameters, such as the rate (i.e. 50%) and periodicity (monthly) of selections.

The rate is the number of selections as a percentage of the pool size. For example, if there are 100 people in the pool, and the annual rate is 50%, then 50 selections will occur over a years time. Because the process is random, it is probable that a significant number of the 50 selections will “repeat”, meaning that some people get picked more than once. So a random rate of 50% of a 100 person pool means that you’ll conduct 50 drug tests, not test 50 different people.

The program period refers to the period of time during which the random rate will be calculated.The easiest program period to use is one year, however, it’s possible and sometimes advisable to have shorter program periods.  The program period is divided into a specific number of selection periods, which is called the frequency.   Testing activity may fluctuate over the course of the program period, but by the time the period closes, the number of completed tests should equal the random rate.

Frequency is the number and spacing of selection periods during the program period. Typical frequencies are monthly, weekly, quarterly, or daily. Other frequencies are possible and sometimes helpful. A high frequency of selections, i.e. daily, results in a very high level of deterrence. However, it also tends to be more difficult to administer. As a general rule for establishing deterrence, you should use the highest frequency possible given your administrative capabilities. For example, if all of your pool members are located at a single facility with on-site collection capabilities, then weekly, or even daily selections are possible. But if the same number of people are spread out over a large geographic area with diverse work schedules, monthly or quarterly selections may be more appropriate.

The key factor that helps determine frequency is the ability to locate, notify, and collect a sample from the individual selected for testing. That ability is driven by your communication abilities, management practices, geographical structure, and collector arrangements. Of course, all of these are related to the cost of the testing program.

The selection period is an interval within the program period for which a given number of random selections are performed and their corresponding tests completed. Typical selection periods are one month, one week, one quarter, or one day. For example, if you have chosen a frequency of “monthly” each month would be a new selection period. There are a couple of important things to remember about selection periods:

  1. When using simple random sampling with replacement, the prior selection periods have absolutely no impact on the current selection period! (Hint: Think of it as a new roll of the dice – the dice have no memory of previous roll.)
  2. The easiest and most objective way to administer testing is to excuse all pending tests at the end of each selection period. “Carrying over” can introduce all sorts of problems, most of which result from bias. Remember, random testing is about performing a specific number of tests on the subject population. If you’re finding it difficult to accomplish the desired number of tests in each selection period, you may have to adjust management practices, communication, or the logistics of collection. You may also simply need to increase the number of selections per period (over sampling), or, at the start of the next program period, change the frequency.
Over – sampling refers to the practice of selecting more people for testing than the rate requires. This is done in anticipation of some number of tests not being completed. Over – sampling is required in almost every random testing program because it is simply not possible to conduct a test on every person that is picked by the computer. People get sick, go on vacation or leave, change responsibilities, or are otherwise unavailable for testing. An over sampling rate of 20% is quite common. It can be much higher or lower, depending on the situation. Again, the emphasis of random testing is completing a given number of tests during the program period in an unbiased fashion. Some measure of over sampling is required to meet that goal.