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Drug and alcohol testing service opens

Schmidt and Associates, Inc., an alcohol and drug testing service, has opened in Perham.

President Vickie Schmidt founded the company in Fargo in 1997. Since then, she and her husband, Gene, have added offices in Detroit Lakes and now Perham.

For Schmidt, it was an easy decision to add the Perham location.

“We actually live over on Leaf Lake,” Schmidt said. “So, it was like, let’s just stay in our neck of the woods.”

Schmidt said she had also noticed the need for her company’s services among some of the employers in town.

The company offers Department of Transportation drug and alcohol testing services, non-DOT testing and third-party administration as well as DNA paternity testing.

Mostly, Schmidt said, they work with employers to ensure drug-free workplace policies are followed, for insurance purposes and pre-employment screenings.

Employers can take advantage of Schmidt and Associates’ eScreen program in order to get screening results sent to their email in about 15 minutes.

Schmidt said, according to Minnesota state law, a rapid test kit cannot be used in many situations because it needs to be interpreted by a certified laboratory. That process can take several days.

“We have a system where we can use the rapid test kit because we’re linked to a lab and I don’t interpret the results,” Schmidt explained.

If something shows up in the test, it is then forwarded to the lab for further processing, confirmation and medical review. Negative results don’t need the longer process.

“When you’re trying to quickly fill a position, that’s very important,” she said.

As another part of state law, Schmidt said she and her staff are not allowed to tell employers what substance was detected on a test until it has been verified.

Aside from Schmidt’s other locations, she said the next nearest eScreen provider is in St. Cloud.

Schmidt and her staff also create and administer third-party DOT and non-DOT random selection testing programs for companies. When setting up a program, Schmidt said she asks why the employer is starting and who will be included.

“If they’re going to exempt the management, then I don’t want to work with them,” she said. “Everybody’s got to be on the same field. I don’t care if you’re the owner or the janitor – if we have a drug-free work place, you’re all involved. If the owner wants to be exempt, what message does that send to the employees?”

Parents can also have their child tested if they suspect he or she is using drugs or alcohol. Schmidt said they offer referrals to treatment providers and can connect with child protection services or law enforcement if needed.

For paternity tests, a mouth swab is collected and sent to another lab to be compared and interpreted, with a turnaround of three or four days.

“I treat everybody’s sample like I would want my drug test treated,” Schmidt said of her business philosophy. “Because if I do something wrong with your collection, it messes with your life – whether it’s just a couple of days until it’s resolved or longer.”

Other training, advising and testing products are available through the office.

“I’m doing the best I can to keep the world safe,” Schmidt said. “It’s the only thing I know how to do that is leaving the world a better place.”

Schmidt and Associates is at 300 West Main Street, Suite C – on the back side of the building, facing the railroad. Office hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 346-3320 with questions or to set up an appointment.

Jodi Malcolm of Hometown Essentials will also provide services after hours and on Friday through the office. She can be reached at 218-298-1070.