Regulatory Mechanisms

The legal and regulatory aspect of drug testing across the various regions of Europe is highly complex. Countries such as France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom all have accreditation programs in place (6). In the United Kingdom, the following pieces of legislation are known to have played an important role in the development of the DAT market, especially in the workplace:

1. Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

2. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

3. Road Traffic Act 1988

4. Transport and Works Act 1992

5. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992

In accordance with such laws, routine screening in the workplace must be carried out so as to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all employees as much as possible. Employers in Europe are becoming increasingly aware of the possibility of being held liable for the actions of their drug-impaired staff. Currently, WPDT in Europe is limited to safety-critical industries such as petrochemical, construction, and public transport. On the other hand, utility of WPDT in non-safety-critical industries remains low, even in the more advanced markets of the United Kingdom and Germany. This is the result of a general lack of enforcement of legislation demanding obligatory testing of staff in these sectors. This is even more apparent in southern European countries, where employees place a high value on their rights to privacy and family life, as permitted under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights of 1998. Drug testing at the roadside in Europe is still not uniformly applied. For the time being, drivers suspected of DUID are tested only in Belgium and Switzerland (6,7). Just before the year 2000, per se-type laws were implemented in both Germany and Sweden, whereby driving is prohibited if certain drugs are detectable in the blood. In the United Kingdom, police forces are currently being trained to recognize symptoms of DUID as part of a large-scale evaluation of roadside DATs. Nevertheless, no legislation has yet been established.

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