Alcohol and Breath Testing

To summarise the debate on alcohol and breath testing:

It is important to be aware that there is not a strong body of evidence indicating that they reduce drug use and related harm. This does not mean they don’t do this. It means there is no strong evidence that they do.

Equally – there is no evidence that they do not make things worse (e.g. people might move to using drugs that are not included in the drug testing program and which may be more harmful). This is not to say this does or does not happen – we simply do not have enough evidence to reach a firm conclusion.

Drug testing does not identify someone who is impaired from the after- or hangover effects of alcohol/drug use.

Some people find drug testing intrusive, and question the right of the employer to test body fluids, especially in the absence of evidence about their effectiveness of the method to reduce harm.

Drug testing can be expensive, with unclear benefits and may undermine support for other approaches to prevent and reduce use. Its cost-efficiency has not been determined.

A concluding comment is that drug testing approaches are often oversold and workplaces should be aware of risks and shortfalls as well as claims about their potential.