The practice of WPDT is much more common in the United States than in Europe. Since its introduction over two decades ago, drug testing has now become commonplace in the United States. Indeed, some experts believe that certain European regions are at least 10 yr away from the adoption of routine WPDT (4). This is reflected in the statistics that fewer than 1 in 10 companies are currently conducting drug testing in the United Kingdom, which is widely perceived as the leading market in Europe in terms of WPDT. Apart from the United Kingdom, some companies in countries such as Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, and—to a lesser extent—Germany, have begun to introduce WPDT policies. Meanwhile, the rest of Europe, particularly the Mediterranean region, remains highly skeptical of this practice owing to the dearth of evidence supporting the value of WPDT in producing a safer working environment.
Screening policies, as observed in northern European regions, may be applied as part of a selection process for job applicants, or for regular, occasional, voluntary, or random testing of the workforce. These tests are also valuable in circumstances such as after-accident or posttreatment. Initially, end-users of drug testing in Europe are mostly confined to safety-sensitive industries, with the aim of minimizing any potential risk to the health, safety, and welfare of staff. Over the past decade, the evolution of WPDT in Europe has started to penetrate non-safety-sensitive professions, such as banking and stock brokerages (Table 3). This latest trend is most noticeable in the United Kingdom. According to research carried out at Frost & Sullivan (4), the demand for WPDT in Europe is expected to continue to rise over the next 5 yr, largely as a result of the sustained development of the UK market. However, there are reports that in a minority of cases, WPDT is being performed in the absence of quality control, chain of custody, adulteration testing, or confirmation of positive test results. This is in spite of the introduction in 2002 of guidelines for legally defensible workplace drug testing prepared by the European Workplace Drug Testing Society (EWDTS).
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