AP NEWS

The mobile ‘middleman’ in drug testing

December 13, 2016

Mobile is the new cachet for businesses and one Santa Fe man is bringing that convenience to workplace drug testing.

Ken Smithson is the owner of the newly opened ADAMPA LLC, which stands for Anti-Drug and Alcohol Misuse Prevention Associates.

Smithson aims to offer the convenience of mobile services to employers with urine collection and alcohol testing through use of a Breathalyzer. Currently, two main clients are the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the North Central Regional Transit District.

Smithson opened the office in August and is slowly developing his clientele. Smithson said his service is helpful for employers in rural areas with a limited number of employees. Other businesses that require drug and alcohol testing of workers include auto dealers, mechanics and hardware stores.

His wife, Sue Smithson, is co-owner, and both she and Ken are certified in urine drug collections and as breath-alcohol technicians.

Both went through training that consists of step-by-step collection processes and proper use of the Breathalyzer.

All of the equipment is strictly regulated and calibrated under federal guidelines.

The company specializes in regulated drug and alcohol testing for employees covered by the Department of Transportation testing requirements, including the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Rail Administration, and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, but its goal is to take that expertise and serve other employers.

Ken Smithson worked in public transportation in Texas, Nevada and New Mexico and decided to get involved in drug testing when he saw there were not a lot of choices for those who manage bus companies in smaller communities.

“The focus is to be available to all employers and get employees in and out quick,” Smithson said. “It’s a big deal, so it has to be done right.”

Smithson said he is the “middleman” between employers and their supervisors.

“We are just the collectors, we don’t see the results,” Smithson said. Services are often paid under state and federal contracts, and prices vary depending on the number of tests and what is involved.

Over time, Smithson has seen businesses become complacent, and errors have crept into the testing process. He encourages his customers to model their drug and alcohol testing programs after those of the federal transport agencies, which are tried and true and legally defensible. Smithson can work with employers to create a unique program to fit the specific needs of each business.

The office is set up so that employees cannot alter the test process or the results. Smithson serves as the direct observer for men who are under suspicion of altering a test, and his wife can observe female employees if necessary.

The Smithsons said this does not happen often.

The five substances tested for are marijuana, cocaine, PCP, amphetamines and barbiturates, with tests provided for both pre-employment screenings and regular employment screens.

With its mobile service, Smithson recently traveled to Las Vegas, N.M., for a post-accident test.

One customer is the North Central Regional Transit District, which provides rural bus service in Northern New Mexico.

“He has provided service after-hours and on weekends,” said a district spokeswoman.