The use of DNA, Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-Legal cases

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The use of DNA, Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-Legal cases

18 September 2020: The use of DNA, Drug & Alcohol Testing in Medico-Legal cases

Drug and alcohol testing may be required by various professional bodies involved in child custody cases, care proceedings or child protection cases. In cases regarding divorce and children, a dispute may arise during the process of discussions involving the custody of children. In these cases, drug and alcohol testing may be sought if there has been a substance abuse claim against a parent fighting for custody or visitation. In cases relating to child protection, social services may seek drug and alcohol testing if child welfare claims have been made regarding suspected substance misuse.

Why is Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-legal Cases Important?

Drug and alcohol testing is important to ensure child protection from the detrimental effects of parental substance misuse and to ensure they have the quality of life they deserve. In addition, it is also important to allow parents the opportunity to get the help and support they need and begin rehabilitation treatment.

Doing the right thing by the child is the main priority, and where possible parent and child relationships are sought to be maintained. Drug and alcohol testing assists in these efforts and in such cases abstinence monitoring testing may be required to assess a parent’s recovery e.g. if a visitation case is being reassessed.

Our Expertise

At Randox Testing Services we provide drug and alcohol testing to all professionals within the medico-legal sector. Our testing service utilises accredited testing methods and is made more cost-effective through patented testing methods developed by Randox.

We understand the impact a positive result can have on a parent, child, and extended family and ensure results are of the highest precision and accuracy. With over 35 years’ experience in the diagnostic industry we have gained reputation as a trusted provider.

Our drug and alcohol testing solutions are flexible and can be tailored to our customer needs with a choice of testing methods. We offer a comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu and our service also includes the use of an Expert Witness Statement where applicable.

Range of Testing

We provide a range of testing to suit the requirements for any medico-legal case. Read more below to find out what is available.

Alcohol Testing


PEth (Phosphatidylethanol) is a direct alcohol biomarker that only forms in the body when ethanol is present, making it the most sensitive and specific test to assess alcohol consumption levels.

  • PEth test involves spotting a drop of blood from a small finger prick onto a test card. The dried blood spot (DBS) is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
  • PEth testing will differentiate between abstinence or light alcohol consumption, social alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse for up to a month prior to the test.

Benefits of PEth Testing

  • Accurate blood alcohol test
  • Detect chronic and single-drinking episodes of alcohol consumption
  • Monitor abstinence, drinking behaviour and identify relapse

Hair Alcohol Testing

Testing for alcohol in head hair works by detecting two metabolites of alcohol: ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and the fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE). Both EtG and FAEE can be measured in hair providing an insight into alcohol consumption over the previous period of months. Concentrations can be influenced by cosmetic treatments and products and as such it is always advisable to test in conjunction with PEth or LFT/CDT blood testing.

Benefits of Hair Alcohol Testing

  • Assessment of alcohol consumption for up to 6 months
  • Collected by fully trained Collection Officer
  • History of alcohol consumption can be established

Blood Alcohol Testing

Blood alcohol testing is used to measure the level of alcohol in an individual’s blood. When alcohol is consumed, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream, with approximately 90% being broken down into the liver. RTS offer the following blood alcohol tests:

  • Liver Function Test (LFT) – The blood is examined for specific enzymes which can indicate damage to the liver caused by alcohol consumption. However, other factors can lead to increased levels of liver enzymes.
  • Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) – Looks at specific protein which can become elevated because of heavy alcohol consumption. However, other factors can lead to increased levels of CDT.

Benefits of Blood Alcohol Testing

  • Collection by a fully trained phlebotomist collection officer
  • Assessment of alcohol consumption for up to 1 month
  • Determine drinking behaviour and patterns of use

Drug Testing


Urine drug testing is used to determine whether someone is misusing drugs by taking a sample of their urine. We offer a 12 panel that covers the major drug groups, including:

Opiates, MDMA/Ecstasy, Cocaine, Tramadol, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Ketamine, Amphetamine, Cannabinoids, EDDP, Benzodiazepines, Buprenorphine

Benefits of Urine Drug Testing

  • Assessment of substance consumption for up to 12 days, drug dependent and quantity ingested
  • Confirmation of presumptive positive available on request
  • Fully accredited LC mass spectrometry confirmatory analysis


Hair drug testing is a useful form of testing and can be used to support other methods such as oral fluid and urine testing. Our standard panel for hair drug testing includes:

Opiates, Methadone, Tramadol, Cocaine (inc. Crack Cocaine), Amphetamines, (inc. Methamphetamines and “ecstasy” type drugs), Benzodiazepines, Cannabis, Ketamine

Benefits of Hair Drug Testing

  • Detection window of 0-12 months dependent on length (1cm roughly 1 month) – Can be an overview of 3 monthly periods or segmented into monthly periods.
  • Head hair & body hair (except axillary & pubic)
  • Body hair – Up to a 12-month overview. Unable to be segmented
  • Bespoke hair drug panel with other substances available on request

DNA Testing

We provide a range of DNA Testing services to suit your requirements.

  • Paternity testing
  • Maternity testing
  • Sibling DNA testing
  • Grandparent DNA testing
  • Aunt/Uncle testing

Benefits of DNA Testing

  • Fully trained collection officer
  • Legally accepted results

Want to find out more?

To speak to one of our experts about how our range of testing and services can help with your medico-legal testing enquiry, contact us today by emailing or by phoning +44 (0) 28 9445 1011


Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.

Drug and Alcohol Training from Randox Testing Services

10 August 2020: Drug and Alcohol Training from Randox Testing Services

As well as providing a fully managed drug & alcohol testing service, RTS provide a range of training and education services to help inform and educate regarding the issue of drug & alcohol use in the workplace.

Alcohol use increases the risk of problems in the workplace, such as absenteeism, presenteeism and inappropriate behaviour. Use of alcohol or illicit drugs can impair a person’s performance at work through poor decision making and impaired reaction times causing lost productivity, inferior goods/services, errors and accidents.

Certain working situations and conditions are associated with use of alcohol and illicit drugs (i.e. shift or night work, travel away from home, working remotely, business meals, poor communications and job stress, etc). There are many factors within the workplace culture that present an increased risk for the use of substances including availability, work/peer-group pressures, lack of supervision, physical danger and interface with a demanding or aggressive public. International evidence also indicates that longer working hours are significantly associated with higher rates of alcohol use and related problems.

Professional Services

Randox Testing Services offer professional training services to ensure efficient implementation of workplace drug and alcohol testing. The training services confirm employer confidence to carry out workplace drug and alcohol testing and management competence in enforcing the process. There are a range of tailored training programmes to educate employers and their management staff.

Range of Courses

Our range of competency courses are designed to train employees who will be responsible for carrying out self-collection in accordance with company policy. Anyone involved in self-collection needs to be suitably trained and certificated to follow set procedures that ensure all testing can be legally defended. We provide competency courses for the following matrices:

  • Alcohol Testing
  • Instant Urine Testing
  • Instant Oral Fluid Testing

In addition to the above, we also provide a portfolio of other training and education presentations that enable employers to enhance awareness of substance misuse & understand the various processes involved when implementing a workplace testing programme. These options include:

  • Chain of Custody Training
  • Drug & Alcohol Awareness Training
  • Employee Briefings
  • Bespoke Training Courses

All training courses are fully recorded, regularly reviewed and include an assessment of the effectiveness of training. Upon completion, all attendees are granted a Certificate of Attendance at the end of each completed training course.

Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing sector. We provide a wide range of testing for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in the workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training, our services will help to eradicate the impact of drugs and alcohol.

If you have any questions regarding drug & alcohol testing and how we can provide your company with training and education services, please use the below details to get in touch and we will be happy to discuss requirements.

Email –

Phone – +44 (0) 28 9445 1011

Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.

Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic

09 July 2020

Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic


Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic

On 31 December 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China, reported a cluster of 27 pneumonia cases (including seven severe cases) of unknown aetiology, with a common reported link to Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a wholesale fish and live animal market. On 23 January 2020, Wuhan City was locked down – with all travel in and out of Wuhan prohibited –and movement inside the city was restricted.

By March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, with more than 150 countries worldwide being affected. Many countries, including the UK; imposed stringent public health measures that included the closure of businesses & strict social distancing guidelines.

Due to the enforced lockdown, many within the UK workforce had to make alternative working arrangements, with working from home becoming the new norm. With the closure of businesses and the hospitality sector including bars and restaurants, it meant people seeking alternative means to purchase and consume alcohol.

Before the pandemic, alcohol was attributed to being a financial burden to the UK health system and wider economy. The British Medical Journal estimated that alcohol costs the NHS more than £3.5 billion and the wider economy at least £21bn each year.

The organisation Alcohol Change UK commissioned new research to look at whether people’s drinking habits changed during the COVID-19 lockdown. Over 2,000 people completed the survey, with results weighted to ensure they were representative of the UK population.

The key takeaway from the report is people are consuming alcohol differently because of the lockdown. Around one in five drinkers (21%) told us that they have been drinking more frequently since the lockdown. This suggests that around 8.6 million UK adults are drinking more frequently under lockdown.

Furthermore, while almost half of drinkers said they were drinking about the same amount on a typical drinking day, 15% said they have been drinking more per session since lockdown.

The Global Drug Survey produced a special report for COVID-19 with more than 80,000 participants. The report stated that 44% of those who participated said the frequency of alcohol use increased. Reasons for this included ‘having more time to drink and feeling bored more often.’ However, 25.5% reported having decreased their use of alcohol during COVID-19.

As restrictions begin to ease and more people return to work, it is important to highlight the impact of COVI-19 on the workforce. People’s way of life has changed dramatically, with this change comes different ways of consuming alcohol. It is important to note that the figures above are a proportionate representation based on those who took part, but valuable insights can be gained when looking at alcohol use. For employers who have staff returning to work, their safety is of paramount importance. This will include effectively managing substance misuse, should it be an issue in the workplace.

Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol’s impact on your body starts from the moment you take your first sip. While an occasional glass of wine or beer isn’t a cause for concern, the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer, or spirits can take its toll.

Consumption of alcohol can impact various parts of the body. Effects can range from weakening of the immune and digestive system, to inflammation and sugar level issues.

Our ‘Effects Of’ Series provides educational posters that can be displayed in workplaces to highlight the dangers of alcohol. Click here for more information.

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing sector. We provide a wide range of testing for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in the workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training, our services will help to eradicate the impact of drugs and alcohol.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, RTS have continued to provide drug & alcohol testing services. At all times, we have ensured our staff are equipped to provide sensible advice and flexible solutions to drug & alcohol testing.

We have provided each Collection Officer with full PPE to ensure they meet requirements for personal and professional safety. Full social distancing guidelines are followed at all times when possible whilst conducting testing. We will continue to advise and navigate companies through this period as more businesses return and testing is required.

If you have any questions regarding drug & alcohol testing, contact us today.



Phone: +44 (0) 28 9445 1011



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RTS Blog | Wales introduce minimum alcohol pricing

12 March 2020

Wales introduce minimum alcohol pricing


RTS Blog | Wales introduce minimum alcohol pricing

From 2nd March, there was a change in the way alcohol is sold in Wales, with the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP).

Retailers and any outlets serving alcohol must charge at least 50p a unit, meaning a typical bottle of wine costs no less than £4.69. Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it would tackle “harmful and damaging” drinking of cheap, strong alcohol.

A recent report found that alcohol sales in Scotland had dropped after a similar system was implemented in May 2018. The Public Health Minimum Price for Alcohol Wales Act 2018 forces retailers to use a formula for working out minimum pricing.

What is a unit of alcohol?

  • A unit is 10ml of pure alcohol
  • This is equivalent to about half a pint of lower or standard-strength beer or cider
  • A single 25ml shot of sprits is about one unit
  • A small 125ml glass of wine contains about 1.5 units

Source: NHS Direct Wales

What is minimum unit pricing?

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) is a method in setting a baseline price below which no one can sell an alcoholic drink. The price is based on how much alcohol is in each drink. The minimum price that’s being set in Wales is 50p per unit of alcohol. Whether the drink is beer, cider, wine, spirits or any other kind of alcoholic drink; its minimum price will depend on how much alcohol it contains. For example:

  • A standard-strength pint of beer or cider contains around 2.5 units of alcohol, so it can’t be sold in Wales for less than £1.25 (2.5 x 50p)
  • A bottle of wine has about 10 units of alcohol in it, so the minimum price for it is around £5 (10 x 50p)
  • A bottle of whisky or vodka contains around 26 units, and so cannot be sold for less than £13 (26 x 50p)

Why has it been introduced?

Official figures show about 500 people die in Wales each year from alcohol-related causes, with 60,000 hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption, adding up to an estimated £159m cost to the Welsh NHS r.

Dr Sarah Aitken, director of public health for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said the organisation had been supportive of the law change since it was first mooted.

“We see the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on people’s health every day,” she said.

 About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing industry. We provide testing solutions for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in their workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training to staff, our services will help to eradicate the impacts of drugs and alcohol.

To find out more about our range of products and how our service packages can help your company, contact us today.

Email –

Phone – +44 (0) 28 9445 1011


Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.

Randox Testing Services announce attendance at HRD Summit 2020

16 January 2020

Randox Testing Services to attend HRD Summit 2020


RTS are pleased to announce we will be attending the HRD Summit 2020. The two-day event is taking place on 4-5 February at the ICC, Birmingham.

The HRD Summit plays host to the most senior HR and business leaders on the globe. The 2020 Summit will welcome over 1,500 attendees, over 150 speakers across 8 content streams, over 80 Exhibitors, over 250 Match Meetings and 11+ hours of networking spread across 2 days.

For RTS it will be the first time attending the event and UK Sales Manager Michelle Fenn is anticipating a busy and productive two days. She said,

“RTS are delighted to be attending the HRD Summit in Birmingham. It is an event that we have identified that would be ideally suited to promote the message of safer workplaces through minimising the impacts of drug & alcohol misuse. In workplaces, employers are becoming more mindful and aligned to their well-being of their employees. One part of this is ensuring a health and safety policy is in place.

A key role within this is ensuring an accurate and concise drug and alcohol policy that is effectively communicated to all employees. RTS are proud of the assistance we provide in helping companies to reduce the impact of substance misuse, so we look forward to engaging with the companies and delegates who will be attending the HRD Summit over the two days.”

As well as exhibiting in the dedicated Partner Zone at the event where delegates can engage with us directly and find out more about our services relating to drug & alcohol testing, we will also be taking part in one of the roundtable discussions that will be happening during the event, so keep an eye on our website and social media in the run up to the event for more information!

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services is a specialist in the drug & alcohol testing industry. We aim to educate and inform companies about the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace, and the impact it can have on an organisation.

If you are attending HRD Summit and would like to speak with us about drug & alcohol testing, visit us in the Partner Zone where one of our colleagues will be happy to speak with you.

Alternatively, if you would like to know more about workplace drug & alcohol testing and how we can help your business, contact us using any of the below details.


Phone: 028 9445 1011


Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.

Take control of your liver health with a Randox Health Check


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09 January 2020

Understanding your liver health

Take control of your liver health with a Randox Health Check

Are you taking part in Dry January? Giving up alcohol can do your insides a lot of good, and it’s great news for your liver in particular. It may be that after the festive period our liver needs a little bit of rest!

Did you know that alcohol consumption across the UK increases by a staggering 41 percent more than the annual monthly average in December? That’s more than anywhere else in the world.

The effects of alcohol on your health really depend on how much you drink and how often, but as the statistics show, more of us increase our uptake of alcohol over the festive period.

So how does this impact our body and our liver?

The results of over indulging vary from a hangover, a poor night’s sleep, to causing an irregular heartbeat, and in some cases, excessive alcohol intake can lead to liver damage. This can be a very serious condition, given the liver’s vital role in the body.

The liver plays a central role in all metabolic processes. In fat metabolism, it breaks down fats and produces energy. When we intake alcohol or drugs, it metabolizes the drug and detoxifies chemicals.  And it also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.

Following these processes, the liver also secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines and helps the digestion of fats and oils, otherwise known as lipids.

The liver can develop new cells, but abuse over a prolonged period reduces its ability to regenerate, causing serious damage.

It is not just heavy drinking over years that can cause liver disease – binge drinking is also a culprit and can lead to a build up of fat and subsequent inflammation. The best advice is to drink in moderation. Simple tips like taking a glass of water in-between alcoholic drinks are key to staying hydrated.

Know your units;

  • According to, unit guidelines are now the same for men and women.
  • Both are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
  • This equates to 6 pints of 4% beer / 6 glasses of 13% wine / 14 glasses (25ml) of 40% spirits
  • But don’t save up your 14 units, it’s best to spread evenly across the week.
  • If you want to cut down the amount you’re drinking, a good way is to have several drink-free days each week.
  • If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

What does one unit of alcohol look like?

One unit of alcohol is the amount of alcohol an average adult can process within one hour so that so that there’s no alcohol left in their bloodstream.

One unit of alcohol equates to:

  • 218ml of standard 4.5% cider
  • 76ml of standard 13% wine
  • 25ml of standard 40% whiskey
  • 250ml of standard 4% beer
  • 250ml of a standard 4% alcopop

How many units are in my drink?

  • Small glass white / rosé / red wine (125ml 12%) = 1.5 units
  • Standard glass white / rosé / red wine (175 ml 12%) = 2.1 units
  • Large glass white / red / rosé wine (250ml 12%) = 3 units
  • Pint of lager / beer / cider (5.2%) = 3 units
  • Bottle of lager / beer / cider (330ml 5%) = 1.7 units
  • Single small shot of spirits (25ml 40%) = 1 unit*

*taken from NHS Live Well Guidelines

Having your liver health checked after Christmas is a great way of tracking any changes that you may need to make to your lifestyle, for better or for worse – essential for helping you prevent disease and allowing you to take early action if it is diagnosed.

At Randox we offer a comprehensive menu of liver function tests to determine its health.  Provided by Randox to a wealth of hospitals, laboratories and research facilities across the globe, these tests are also directly available to you, the consumer, via our Randox Health clinics.

They include:

  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) – an enzyme mainly found in the liver. Liver injury or disease will release ALT into the bloodstream, thus elevating serum ALT levels.  Moderately high or mildly elevated ALT levels can be associated with chronic diseases, such as cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver.
  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) – an enzyme found predominantly in the heart, liver and skeletal muscles. Cell injury or disease will release AST into the bloodstream, thus elevating blood AST levels. Increased AST levels may be associated with hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), cirrhosis, or drug-induced liver injury.
  • Gamma-Glutamyltransferase (GGT) – an enzyme found mainly in the liver. Increased levels of GGT in the blood may indicate bile duct injury, hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver necrosis (death of tissue), tumours or the use of drugs that are toxic to the liver.  A high GGT level is frequently associated with increased alcohol consumption, as this enzyme is involved in the breakdown and removal of alcohol from the body.
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase (GLDH) – an enzyme located within the mitochondria (energy-producing machinery) of cells, particularly within liver tissue. Significant liver cell damage may cause release of GLDH into the bloodstream.  Toxic liver damage, liver cell necrosis or hypoxic liver disease (where liver cells are deprived of oxygen) may cause an increase in GLDH. Measurement of GLDH in combination with other liver markers may help distinguish between different causes of liver dysfunction.
  • Bilirubin – a yellowish-brown pigment found in bile. Increased levels may be associated with liver or bile duct blockage (eg due to gallstones), hepatitis, cirrhosis, trauma to the liver, a drug reaction, long-term alcohol abuse or rare inherited disorders (eg Dubin-Johnson syndrome which is characterised by mild jaundice).
  • Albumin – produced by the liver, albumin is the most abundant protein in the blood. Albumin plays in important role in maintaining blood pressure and transporting a wide variety of small molecules, such as hormones, vitamins and drugs, throughout the body. Various conditions are associated with decreased albumin levels, including kidney and liver diseases.
  • Copper – an essential mineral that plays a part in many enzyme systems within the body. Excess or deficiency of copper is very rare, however raised copper levels may be caused by chronic liver disease or acute hepatitis.

And when used in conjunction with the wide variety of other tests available within the world’s most comprehensive and personalised health testing menu, you can obtain an understanding of your full body health like never before.

That’s why we don’t test in isolation, which can give a patchy representation of your health and can fail to pick up on related symptoms elsewhere in the body. We test up to 350 tests across 25 areas of your health – giving you the power to take your health into your own hands.

Contact the Randox Health team today to determine the health of your liver, and of your body.

Call 0800 2545 130 or click here.

To find out more and purchase the most thoughtful of Christmas presents – a gift card for the ‘gift of health’ – click here.



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New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK

10 December 2019

New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK


A new report has highlighted the scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in the UK. In 2017, the minister for public health and primary care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to identify the scale, distribution and causes of prescription drug dependence, and what might be done to address it.

The review covered adults (aged 18 and over) and 5 classes of medicines:

  • benzodiazepines (mostly prescribed for anxiety)
  • z-drugs (sleeping tablets with effects similar to benzodiazepines)
  • gabapentin and pregabalin (together called gabapentinoids and used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain and, in the case of pregabalin, anxiety)
  • opioids for chronic non-cancer pain
  • antidepressants

PHE’s analysis shows that, in 2017 to 2018, 11.5 million adults in England (26% of the adult population) received, and had dispensed, one or more prescriptions for any of the medicines within the scope of the review. The totals for each medicine were:

  • z-drugs – 1.0 million (2%)
  • benzodiazepines – 4 million (3%)
  • gabapentinoids – 5 million (3%)
  • antidepressants – 3 million people (17% of the adult population)
  • opioid pain medicines – 6 million (13%)


Between 2015 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018 the rate of prescribing for antidepressants increased from 15.8% of the adult population to 16.6% and for gabapentinoids from 2.9% to 3.3%. There was a small decrease in prescribing rates for the other 3 medicine classes. Rates of prescribing were higher for women (1.5 times those of men), and the rates generally increased with age. After a long increasing trend, the annual number of prescriptions for opioid pain medicines has slightly decreased since 2016. There is a continuing longer-term fall in prescription numbers for benzodiazepines. A longer-term increase in annual prescription numbers for z-drugs started to reverse in 2014.

Officials said long-term use on such a scale could not be justified and was a sign of patients dependence.

PHE medical director Prof Paul Cosford said he was worried.

“These medicines have many vital clinical uses and can make a big difference to people’s quality of life.”

But he added there were too many cases where patients were using them for longer than “clinically” appropriate – where the drugs would have simply stopped working effectively or where the risks could outweigh the benefits.


One in 4 adults in England were prescribed benzodiazepines, z-drugs, gabapentinoids, opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, or antidepressants. Prescriptions for antidepressants and gabapentinoids are increasing, but prescriptions for opioid pain medicines are decreasing. Prescriptions for benzodiazepines continue to fall, and those for z-drugs have more recently started to fall.

Peter Burkinshaw at PHE, one of the authors said: “The long-term prescribing of opioid pain medicines and benzodiazepines is not supported by guidelines and is not effective.”

Fellow author Rosanna O’Connor, said: “We know that GPs in some of the more deprived areas are under great pressure but, as this review highlights, more needs to be done to educate and support patients, as well as looking closely at prescribing practice and what alternative treatments are available locally.


Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines (PHE)

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we are at the forefront of alcohol and drug testing. We aim to spread the message of alcohol and drug misuse and the effects substance abuse can have on individuals and businesses. Prescription & OTC medication if taken incorrectly can have a devastating impact. It’s important to communicate with employers if you are taking prescription medication for any reason. If your organisation undertakes workplace testing, our chain of custody process provides clarity on the steps needed to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

For more information on drug & alcohol testing, including the wide range of substances we can test for, please visit or email


Want to know more?

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Practical steps for dealing with substance misuse in the workplace

11 November 2019

Practical steps for dealing with substance misuse in the workplace


What is substance misuse?

Substance misuse (or abuse) is defined as the sustained use of any mind-altering substance. This includes legal substances like solvents and alcohol as well as illegal drugs. Through this continued use the user’s physical and mental health are severely affected. The misuse of substances in the workplace can cause issues such as increased absenteeism, low productivity and create an unsafe working environment.

It is estimated that between 3% and 5% of all work absences are due to alcohol abuse and that 1 in 30 employees has had drugs in their system at one time in the workplace. All employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and so statistics like this cannot be ignored.

What can employers do?

As an employer, it is important that measures are taken to protect all employees and the company from potential dangers. To do this, employers should:

Introduce a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy. This lets all stakeholders know exactly where the company stands on substance misuse and shows that you are being proactive in your approach.

Conduct drug and alcohol testing. Utilising random and/or with cause testing can help quickly identify any substance misuse issues. Consider including a contractual obligation for employees to co-operate with this.

Train staff to identify the signs of substance misuse. Make everyone aware of the issue and give them the ability to look for the key signs. This can only help increase safety.

Keep up-to-date with the latest legislation. The laws on substance misuse can change quite quickly, especially as new substances like legal highs are identified and re-classified. Ensure you are aware of the latest changes.

Support employees. Addiction or frequent misuse of substances should be treated the same way as other health issues. Offer support to your employees and help them make a quick return to work.

The above steps can help better manage the issue of substance misuse in the workplace. Effectively communicating the company’s stance on this issue to employees brings clarity and lets everyone know where they stand.

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we offer comprehensive drug and alcohol testing solutions for workplaces. We incorporate cutting-edge screening methods to provide an outstanding testing service and are well-positioned to provide consultancy and support to help you put an effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policy in place.

For more information contact us at

Want to know more?

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RTS | Which company testing is right for me?

04 October 2019

Which company testing method is right for me?


Implementation of an effective substance misuse policy establishes employer rights to conduct workplace drug and alcohol testing if required. In addition, it ensures adherence to the duty of care of an employer to protect their workforce and keep employees safe. There are a range of approaches available to complement your policy to ensure a safer working environment. In this blog we take a look at two common types of testing; random testing and with-cause testing.

Random Testing

With knowledge that a test could be conducted with anyone at any time, random testing is the most effective deterrent of drug abuse or alcohol misuse among employees. Ensuring the integrity of staff across all levels, random testing can be conducted with employees at any level, from temporary employees to managers and directors.


The process includes ensuring a clear workplace drug and alcohol testing policy is in place. Employees should also be made aware that random drug and alcohol testing is carried out; this can take the form of a clear statement in an employee’s contract outlining that random testing can be conducted with little to no notice. Notification of this conforms to legislation whilst respecting employee rights.

Secondly, we will work with you to determine the percentage of your workforce you would like to test, and how often you would like testing to be carried out. Whilst we recommend random drug and alcohol testing should be performed at least quarterly, the decision is yours. To avoid employee discrimination and to ensure testing is random, we use our random selection technology to eliminate bias and provide accurate random selections.

Finally, we will arrive to your workplace unannounced to carry out sample collections from the random selection of employees.

Key Benefits

By implementing a random drug testing may help employers by:

  • Deterring current employees from engaging in drug use
  • Preventing the need for substance abuse recovery programs
  • Employees are less likely to tactfully try to disguise results, or alter their habits, as they will be given little to no notice that a test is going to be conducted
  • Improving attendance and employee productivity
  • Providing a safer workplace with reduced accidents

With-Cause Testing

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971), if an employer suspects an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are legally required to take appropriate action to protect the safety of the employee concerned, other members of staff and the public.


The nature of with-cause testing means that testing can be required ‘on-the-spot’. At Randox Testing Services, we offer a 24-hour call-out service which guarantees an experienced collection officer will arrive to your company within a maximum of 2 hours to perform a sample collection. This service is available 24/7, 365 days a year and complies fully with chain of custody procedures.


  • Legal compliance with correct measurements being taken if an employee is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Can deter employee misuse of drugs or alcohol due to a workplace testing policy being in place
  • Cost savings because of increased productivity with issues being discovered and rectified early

How Randox Testing Services can help

At Randox Testing Services we possess a wealth of experience and knowledge that enables us to offer holistic packages to meet the needs of the customer, regardless of their location or industry. This knowledge comes from over 35 years of testing experience in the diagnostics industry and through our involvement with bodies that help shape testing legislation.

For more information about our range of drug & alcohol testing products, our expertise in this industry and our array of support services, visit

If you would like to speak with one of our experts, use any of the following methods:


Phone: +44 (0) 28 9445 1011

Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.

Addressing Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

05 September 2019

Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

Addressing Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

Within any business, companies seek to outline clear methods in which employees should act and behave whilst carrying out their roles. These rules are outlined in company workplace policies. Every business – no matter which industry it operates in – should have well-documented and comprehensive workplace policies and procedures in place.

According to the Employment Law Handbook, a workplace policy is a set of rules and principles that aims to provide guidance to managers and workers in how to behave in the workplace. They can be in place for numerous different issues – bullying, harassment, internet use, health and safety are just a few that can be implemented.

Health and Safety

As mentioned above, health and safety is an important aspect of any workplace policy. The health and well-being of the working community is of utmost importance for sustainable development. Specifically, a drug and alcohol policy is a key part of the overall health and safety policy within a company. Alcohol and drugs through their effects on health, safety, work performance and absenteeism can jeopardise productivity, deny businesses the leading edge and curtail competitiveness. Effectively implemented drug and alcohol policies will help employers in the legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees.

The need for a Drug and Alcohol Policy

Drugs and alcohol misuse can have dangerous consequences within the workplace. All organisations can benefit from an agreed policy that applies to all staff. There are wide range of statistics available to highlight the worrying impact that drugs and alcohol can have on individuals. In 2016, it was estimated that £7 billion was lost in productivity through unemployment and sickness. Furthermore, 10.8 million adults in England are drinking at levels that pose some risk to their health. A survey carried out by UK based Health and Safety Consultants showed that; from 2,600 workers in office, factory, retail and the public sector, 85% admit to being drunk at work in the last year; not including the Christmas party. 28% of those surveyed admitted using drugs at work, including NPS (formerly legal highs) cannabis and other illegal substances.

From a legal point of view, employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of employees. Also, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to assess the risks to the health and safety of employees. If an employer knowingly allows an employee under the influence of drug misuse to continue working and his/her behaviour places the employee or others at risk, they may face prosecution.

Advantages of having policies in place

Having well-developed policies and procedures can provide a range of benefits to an organisation. An effectively implemented drug and alcohol policy will ensure a clear understanding within the workplace of the rules relating to drugs and alcohol. It will also provide a greater awareness in workplaces of the effects of drugs and alcohol an consequently early recognition. Furthermore, it ensures that the necessary structures and procedures are in place should a problem arise. An up to date policy will also provide assurance that key staff have been trained to understand the issues involved and have the necessary skills to deal with any problems should they arise.

How can Randox Testing Services help?

At Randox Testing Services we offer a comprehensive consultancy service to help employers create an effective substance misuse policy. By providing this service we offer practical advice, guidance and support in composing a substance misuse policy.

Our confidential policy review service provides assistance to employers with an existing substance misuse policy. With this service, we help to modify existing documents to ensure it is legally viable and can withstand challenge in court.

For more information on our comprehensive consultancy service, visit our website: or contact us by emailing

To read more about workplace polices and their importance within an organisation, click here.


Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.

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