Drug and alcohol testing of employees - and potential
employees - has become easier in Queenstown with the opening of
a branch in the resort by the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency
The move will mean the agency now has three offices in
Otago-Southland - in Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown -
as well as six mobile testing units, allowing for 24/7
coverage of the region, including Wanaka, Alexandra and
The agency can conduct on-site workplace drug and alcohol
testing, pre-employment drug testing and also offers advanced
drug and alcohol manager and employee training programmes.
Agency Otago-Southland general manager John Galliven said
last month it tested close to 700 people, averaging about 170
The opening of the Queenstown branch, which initially would
be staffed by one person, would enable the agency to work
more closely with its growing Southern Lakes client base,
including tourism operators, he said.
"Having a permanent base in Queenstown means we can now more
easily provide our clients with fully compliant, quick and
cost-effective pre-employment and workplace drug and alcohol
testing, services and training programmes."
The agency tests for amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis,
cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates and synthetic cannabinoids.
Mr Galliven said while the agency did not have any official
figures on the use of synthetic cannabinoids in New Zealand,
there was "strong anecdotal evidence" their use was on the
"This means that some synthetic cannabis users will be going
to work with the drug's effects still in their systems - and
this can profoundly affect a person's judgement, particularly
in safety-sensitive industries such as tourism.
"NZDDA can accurately test to detect these substances in its
pre-employment and workplace drug testing.
"The test strips we use to detect synthetic cannabis
metabolites have passed the stringent FDA (US Food and Drugs
Administration) testing, as well as being independently
verified by an accredited ... laboratory," he said.
Mr Galliven said all results were private and confidential
and shared only with the person responsible within the
company and the "donor".
Results were kept "under lock and key" for 10 years, as they
were deemed to be medical records, he said.
The agency's chief executive, Chris Hilson, said employers
had a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for
employees, customers and passers-by.
"Having the ability to accurately detect for drug use in the
workplace has got to be good for business and, ultimately,
the New Zealand economy."