Drug Screening: Should It Become An Essential Component of Background Verification In India?

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As per a recent poll, 52 % of respondents said that they knew at least one colleague who uses drugs like Cannabis / THC (street names: Charas / Gaanja, ..)

In India, conducting background verifications has become a crucial aspect of the hiring process. This practice is now being adopted by industries and job profiles where it was previously non-existent. Its implementation enables employers to prioritize the safety and security of both their employees and the workplace.

Drug test is a key component of background verification, albeit not as prevalent in India. However, given the detrimental impact drug abuse can have on productivity, safety, and quality of work, employers are increasingly recognizing the need to incorporate it into their screening process.

It should be noted that drug testing is not mandatory under Indian law, and thus, it falls upon employers to determine whether or not to include drug test as part of their background verification procedures. The founders and HR leadership of companies may have uncertainties regarding certain aspects of drug test, such as which drug tests to administer, how to conduct them, how employees may respond, and what the policy should be in the event of a failed drug test and evidence of drug use by an employee.

We try to answer some of the questions here. 

Which drug test, and how is the drug test conducted?

Typically, the customary approach is to select a drug test panel based on the specific requirements and use case. To minimize ambiguity, it is suggested that beginners opt for a 5-panel drug test, as it encompasses the drugs that are frequently used.

Drug test, different panels to consider in drug test

Standard panels for the drug test in India

  1. The person being tested is requested to provide a urine sample in a sterile container.
  2. The sample is then identified with the individual’s information and securely sealed.
  3. The sample is dispatched to a laboratory for examination.
  4. At the laboratory, the sample is split into two aliquots for testing.
  5. An immunoassay test is used to screen one aliquot, which is a quick and cost-effective test that can identify the presence of the panel of drugs mentioned above. If the immunoassay test is negative, no further testing is required, and the result is considered negative.
  6. In case the immunoassay test is positive or ambiguous, the second aliquot undergoes confirmatory testing using a more specific and sensitive method such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
  7. If the confirmatory test is positive, the individual is deemed to have tested positive for the drug(s) in question. If the confirmatory test is negative, the individual is deemed to have tested negative for the drug(s) in question.

I am still not sure. How will the employee react? What happens if a drug test fails?

Certain questions may not have a definitive response and will hinge on the specific trust, safety, and compliance goals of an organization. For example – who can decide which employee goes through drug screening – the management, the HR team, or another employee? If an employee goes through a drug test, can he or she be subjected to another drug screening test for 6 months?

Eventually, these responses, customized for an organization, must be translated into a policy that is communicated to all current and prospective employees. Ultimately, the policy should be pragmatic and deemed equitable by most employees. If you require assistance in creating a drug screening policy, feel free to contact us at partner@ongrid.in with the subject “Drug testing Policy“. This is a free service that we offer.

About Us

OnGrid is India’s leading background verification platform which offers 50+ checks and verifications including drug test at the fastest turnaround time! We work with over 3000 organizations and have conducted over 100 million checks and verifications. To know more about the process and commercials, schedule a demo now or simply give us a call at 080 470 94800.

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