Home About Contribute Media Kit Contact Sign In


Health Industry News

Drug use on the rise among UK workers, says AlphaBiolabs

Analysis shows more than one in four tests positive

Drug use on the rise among UK workers, says AlphaBiolabs

"We have been very surprised by the findings, as we have never seen positive rates anywhere this level before"
Rachel Davenport

More than one in four UK workers have tested positive for drugs in the past three months, an analysis of samples by testing firm AlphaBiolabs from across a range of industries has shown.

The company today issued a warning to employers and employees as figures showed 26.3 per cent of the workers tested between May and July had traces of drugs in their system.

Across the whole of 2019, the average number of positive results was 14.1 per cent.

In May this year, 30.5 per cent of tests were positive. In June, the figure was 26.5 per cent while in July it was 21.7 per cent.

The average number of positive results over the past three months represents a rise of 86 per cent compared with the average for 2019 as a whole.

AlphaBiolabs, which is based in Warrington, Cheshire, carries out scheduled random workplace drug and alcohol testing for companies across Britain in sectors including construction, energy, transport, utilities, manufacturing, aviation, care and healthcare.

Hair, urine, oral fluid and breathalyser samples are collected by trained staff working at the client company or by one of AlphaBiolabs’ fully-trained sample collectors.

When a sample produces a positive result on-site, a confirmatory test is carried out at AlphaBiolabs’ laboratory in Warrington. Traces of drugs can remain in a person’s system for a week or longer.

Positive test results between May and July showed more than one illicit drug had been used in 16.7 per cent of cases. Cannabis was the most commonly-used illegal substance, followed by cocaine. They were detected in 39.7 per cent and 17.2 per cent of positive tests respectively. Ecstasy was found in 3.4 per cent of positive test samples.

AlphaBiolabs director Rachel Davenport, pictured, said: “We have been very surprised by the findings, as we have never seen positive rates anywhere near this level before.

“From the second half of March until the end of April, testing virtually ground to a halt as companies put their employees on furlough leave or stopped operating altogether.

“I believe we are now seeing the effects of employees left to their own devices during what has been a very difficult period for society.

“This, potentially coupled with health and money worries, may have influenced some of the decisions that have been made.

“We can only guess that employees may have slipped into bad habits while they may have been furloughed. We recommend that employers inform their staff before they return to work that testing is being conducted, and that they need to consider this and the choices they may be making before returning to work and representing their company.”

Random drug and alcohol testing is carried out by employers to deter staff from misuse and to keep them safe, rather than to catch them out.

Rachel said: “Employees under the influence of drugs could cause significant harm to themselves, their colleagues, the public and the business itself. Random testing has been shown to be extremely effective as a means of reducing incidents, ill health, absenteeism and litigation.”

Alongside its workplace drug and alcohol testing functions, AlphaBiolabs has set up a COVID-19 testing service to support companies seeking to keep their workplaces safe, reassure staff and maintain business continuity.


Health Business News - Fake tan is a beauty product that has always been popular and continues to grow with brands offering more innovative products. As we descend into the winter months, we re looking for alternative ways of keeping bronzed and glowing.

Fake Tan Faux Pas Be Gone Answering Fake Tan FAQs

Health Business News - In little over a year, Clare Davis s brother died, her house burnt down, her young child went missing and she was diagnosed with skin cancer. The last three events took place within a fortnight of each other testing the mum-of-four s resilience to the core.

Trainer delivers mental health support in the workplace and schools

Health Business News - Two North Tyneside businesses have received awards for their community work and the way they have adapted to the COVID crisis in a YouTube virtual ceremony.

North Tyneside Businesses Awarded for their Community Spirit and Innovation

Health Business News - Christmas is just around the corner and a fantastic present for Healthwatch Newcastle would be the appointment of a new Chair for its Healthwatch Committee. Healthwatch Newcastle gathers and represents the views and experiences of children and adults on local health and social care services.

Santa Hopes to Bring New Little Helper for Elf Watch Newcastle

Health Business News - During a typical year, students can spend up to 10 months at university. Many students live away from home, which means paying rent and bills to keep a roof over their head while they study. Due to the pandemic, 2020 has been less about working hard to play hard, and more about staying indoors and concentrating on assignments.

How to Heat a Student Home During Winter Term Time

Health Business News - 2020 has been a tough year for everyone but especially for the elderly. As they are more susceptible to COVID-19, most of them have been shielding and cooped up in their homes for most of the year.

Caring for the Elderly Through Winter

Ten Times Ten

We transform your bright ideas into brilliant digital products.