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Keywords:

  • workplace drug testing;
  • drugs of abuse;
  • Italy

Workplace drug testing (WDT) was established in Italy on 30 October 2007. Two tiers of survey are required: the first tier concerns drug testing on urine samples, the second involves both urine and hair analysis. Between July 2008 and December 2011, 10 598 workers’ urine samples and 72 hair samples for opiates, cocaine, cannabinoids, amphetamines, methylenedioxyamphetamines, methadone, and buprenorphine were tested in our laboratory. Urine analyses were performed by immunological screening (EMIT); hair analysis and confirmation tests in urine were performed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Employees tested positive in urine for drugs of abuse numbered 2.8% in 2008, 2.03% in 2009, 1.62% in 2010, and 1.43% in 2011. As regards the second level of analysis, we observed that only one-third of the workers who had been tested positive for drugs of abuse were referred to an Addiction Treatment Unit in order to verify drug addiction. Our experience shows that, four years after approval of the law on WDT, the percentage of workers positive for drugs of abuse in urine has reduced in comparison to the first year. Moreover, our data show that most of the times employees who tested positive are tardily referred or not referred at all to a Public Addiction Treatment Unit to verify drug addiction. This makes us believe that the legal provisions are widely disregarded not paying the right tribute to the fact that Italy is one of few European countries with legislation on WDT. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.