A drug-free workplace is a laudable goal for any employer. Being relatively certain workers aren't impaired by drugs on the job will save money on everything from insurance to lawsuits. On top of that, it will help protect valuable workers from harm, and in the case of trucking, the general public, too.
Although the best defense is always a good offense, preventing substance abusers from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle has never been easy without instituting draconian measures that are expensive and difficult to implement.
It's also tough to figure out when drug sales may be occurring on company property or in company vehicles without actually observing such activity when it's going on. And that's hard to do with a truck that's roaming here and there.
Roger Deitch, CEO of Global Detection & Reporting (GDR), reports his firm has a solution to this dilemma that is well-suited to the trucking environment.
“We've made DrugWipe commercially available to truck fleets among other businesses,” says Deitch. “It's a patented technology that can instantly detect and identify the five major types of illegal narcotics on a surface down to the nanogram level.”
He notes the narcotics that can be detected by DrugWipe are cocaine, cannabis (marijuana), opiates (heroin), and amphetamine/metamphetamines (speed). Alcohol cannot be detected in this manner because it does not linger on surfaces.
Marketed by GDR, DrugWipe products are used by the FBI, DEA and US Customs as well as Revenue Canada's Customs Service. Deitch says DrugWipes have been used by roughly 1,000 national, state and local law-enforcement and government agencies since the mid ‘90s.
“We commercialized the product last, year,” Deitch relates. “Since then, two large truck fleets and a warehousing business have become DrugWipe customers.”
According to Deitch, the product's key selling point is it “produces field-reliable and legally defensible results in less than two minutes” simply by wiping it over a surface to detect either the actual residue of a “raw” drug left by trafficking or the drug's presence in sweat deposited by an impaired user.
He explains that by swiping with DrugWipes, biosensors can detect and identify the various drug types as well as the patterns and the location of both illegal drug use and trafficking. Deitch calls the swipe “a sophisticated lab on a stick,” roughly the size of a pen, that quickly picks up the invisible residue of illegal narcotics with a single, wand-like motion.
Deitch points out that most of GDR's current clients use DrugWipes to quickly and easily test the work surfaces they own, such as a truck steering wheel.
Besides uncovering illegal and potentially dangerous activity, Deitch says using DrugWipes offers other advantages. “Our research indicates that a drug-free workplace has a distinct advantage in hiring and retaining employees,” says Deitch
“These tests are a positive, proactive way to deter workplace drug abuse and trafficking,” he continues. “And they insure the confidence of employees they are working in a safe environment. It's a win-win situation for all, as it improves workplace morale, lowers insurance premiums, increases quality and productivity, lowers self- insured costs and reduces liability.”
Deitch says “non-technical users” can be trained to use DrugWipes in-house or GDR can provide that service additionally. He notes that the presence of drug residue on some surfaces can be detected as long as 60 days after a person touches it.