Drug testing is becoming increasingly common in the US with many employers insisting on clean results before offering candidates jobs.

Where America leads, the UK often follows so over the next few years we could see drug testing becoming a more routine part of the recruitment process, at least in some industries.

And it isn’t just US businesses which are increasingly turning to drug testing, a number of US states governed by Republicans have introduced tests for benefit claimants they suspect may be using illegal substances. People receiving welfare benefits could be asked to take a drug test and if it comes back positive, they will have to undergo a programme of substance abuse treatment to continue receiving money from the state.

The rules mean that if a person fails a second drug test, they will lose their benefits for a period of 90 days and a third positive result would see them have to struggle without money for up to a year. The move is intended to encourage people to stay off illegal substances, however there has been criticism that the system could leave vulnerable people without any income, leading them to turn to crime.

States which have already brought in drug testing as part of the welfare system include Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Georgia. And last month Mississippi became the latest state to introduce these rules, with the bill due to become law on July 1.

Employers may choose to check staff

And for many US employers, asking prospective staff members to take a drug test before hiring them has become a normal part of the employment process.

In the UK, employers can ask their staff to take a drug test but it must be with their employee’s consent or form a part of their employment contract.

AlphaBiolabs offers accurate drug tests for employers as well as solicitors, local authorities and loved ones who may be concerned a family member is misusing substances.

Our fully accredited laboratory takes a segment of hair to test for a number of commonly abused drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis. Evidence of drug use enters the hair from the bloodstream through the follicle and remains inside the strand as it grows.

This means hair testing allows lab staff to find out whether drugs have been used over a period of months. Saliva, blood and urine tests can also check for the presence of drugs but over a much shorter time period.