The Importance of Testing as Staff Return to the Office

Importance of testing in uncertain times

The ongoing pandemic continues to impact daily life. COVID-19 has changed how we socialise, work and daily routines. Even with the easing of restrictions, we will all have to live with a ‘new normal’ for quite some time.

COVID-19 has altered the way which we consume, and drugs & alcohol are no exception. The closure of pubs and restaurants have meant that supermarket and off-licenses have seen alcohol sales soar due to drinking from home being the main way to consume alcohol. Drug consumption has been affected, with supply chains being impacted due to lockdowns & limitations on travel distances.

Some studies have begun to emerge; which highlight how consumption trends have changed since COVID-19 begun.

 Below are some of the key findings:

  • 47% of Britons who drink stated that they had been drinking earlier in the day since lockdown started – a figure that was higher than for most other nations included in the survey.
  • In addition, over 50% of Britons revealed that they had increased the number of days on which they drink, with a third of British respondents also reporting an increase in binge drinking. (Global Drug Survey)
  • One in five drinkers (21%) said they have been drinking more frequently since the lockdown. This equates to around 8.6 million UK adults who may be drinking more frequently. (Alcohol Change)
  • UK wholesale prices of heroin and cocaine seen an increase in 2020, some heroin is of ‘low-quality’ and fentanyl is more available. (Release)
  • A survey done by Scottish drug treatment, Crew found that 58% of the 300 responses reported to taking drugs more often. Reasons stated; stress, boredom, isolation.
  • Global Drug Survey is undergoing a report of 48,000 responses that will show how COVID-19 affects illegal drug use.

Returning to Work?

The reason for highlighting the above figures is to show that, whilst for many lockdown meant adjusting to working from home, others business sectors continued to operate as normal. As such, workplace testing for drugs & alcohol shifted dramatically. Many companies who had a testing policy in place that included random testing suddenly stopped due to staff being based at home. If you are now thinking of returning your staff to the office, Randox Testing Services (RTS) remains open and fully operational and available to carry out testing.

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 always followed whilst conducting testing. We continue to advise and navigate companies through this period as more businesses return and testing is required.

Importance of testing

The stats mentioned at the top of this article highlight the changing nature of how people have consumed alcohol and drugs over the last 12 months. With increases being seen in both quantity of consumption and frequency, it is important that companies are aware of the potential dangers that may arise if a member of staff arrives to work intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

In addition to the alcohol stats, annual research is also carried out to highlight drug consumption patterns. According to research by Public Health England and the devolved nations Health Departments, the most recent surveys covering England, Wales and Scotland reported the highest prevalence of drug use in the past 10 years. From the most recent surveys, the prevalence of any drug use in the last year was 9.4% in England and Wales, 12% in Scotland, and 5.9% in Northern Ireland.

In September 2020, a report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction said Scotland had the highest recorded drug death rate in Europe, far ahead of Sweden in second place. More than 1,200 people in Scotland died of drug misuse in 2019.

In April 2021, a report from Alliance Health Alcohol stated that more the 80 people in the UK die every day because of alcohol-related causes.

The consumption of drugs & alcohol in these uncertain times can cause untold potential dangers for employers. With staff working from home for over a year, many may have turned to alcohol more than what they intended.

Contact us today and speak with our experts who will provide more information about how testing works and the ways in which RTS can help your company.


Phone: +44 (0) 28 9445 1011