The Ethics of Urine Testing

While there is often debate surround the ethics of AOD testing, CMM Technology welcomes open discussion, viewing it as an opportunity to refine and define current practices and enter into accurate dialogue. This in turn leads to objective appraisal of drug and alcohol testing, and allows us to weigh up health and safety issues against oft-cited civil liberties and privacy issues and the accusation of potential for violations.

In “Drug Use and Monitoring in Australia (DUMA)[1] Toni Makkai cites criticism in recent years that urinalysis testing is “dehumanizing, an infringement of civil rights, and may also undermine trust.”[2]

But is this really the case?

And how is it justifiable for the inappropriate actions of one individual and their subsequent privacy rights to be placed ahead of the rights of all?  In essence, this is a jurisprudential and ethical issue that requires consideration and rectification.

The modern industrial and workplace climate is one of complexity, streamlining, heavy workloads and individual and team pressure and performance. And more than ever, industry and business is required to adhere to adequate legislative and statutory guidelines that encompass adequate duty of care and the ongoing occupational health and safety of the workplace. Even in areas where legislation does not exist in relation to drug and alcohol testing, the onus is still firmly on industry and business to deliver quality safety and security measures for its workplace community.

In 2006, Griffith University’s Professor Tim Prenzler’s presented new research focusing on the views of Senior Police in relation to urine and other drug testing. And, “while drug and alcohol testing programs had been used in a number of jurisdictions as a means of revealing and deterring police corruption, tests were being criticised as unethical, especially in terms of entrapment”.[3] However, as is outlined in the study, new evidence and statistical research in fact showed “drug and alcohol testing received very strong support. Overall, the results showed willingness on the part of police leaders to embrace radical measures to combat corruption…and drug usage.”[4] Therefore, when a thorough study was performed and presented – one that moved beyond the day to day hearsay of office and workplace commentary – use of urine testing as an ethically viable means of detection received profound and consistent support from police employees and management.

Perhaps, as Prenzler’s study indicates, when push really comes to shove, we recognise the need to support and safeguard best practice procedures for the benefit of all.

CMM Technology offers groundbreaking urinalysis procedures and products for your business concern. These include adulterant testing kits as well as the revolutionary Medix Integrated Pro-Split Cup and Chain of Custody forms and Full Starter Kits. Contact CMM Technology for the best in testing products and procedures on 618-9204-2500.


[1] Makkai, Toni.  Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA): Drug Detection Testing. Australian Institue of Criminology.II. (Series:Research and Public Policy Series; no 25.)

[2] Bigger, P. Urinalysis: Issues and Applications, Federal Probation pp.23-37

[3] Prenzler, Professor T. (2006) Senior Police Managers? Views on Integrity Testing, and Drug and Alcohol Testing. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 29(3): 394-407

[4] Ibid.

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