Kodiak Island Mobile Screening is working to make drug tests easier for Kodiak’s employers.
Thomas Vest and Rosemary Culver provide mobile drug and alcohol testing options 24/7 to people through Kodiak Island Mobile Screening, which began operating one year ago.
The idea for a mobile drug testing company came to Vest while he was working as a medical laboratory technologist at Kodiak Island Medical Associates, where he is still employed.
“I was finding a lot of people were unable to get time off jobs, get time off fishing, make the time to get a drug screen that is mandatory in a lot of the jobs they do,” Vest said. “So I got the idea that I’ll go to them.”
The Coast Guard also played a role in sparking the idea. Coast Guardsmen were constantly asking Vest for post-accident drug tests on weekends, when the clinic was closed. He realized there was a niche for a company that could provide drug test services outside normal business hours.
Vest pitched his idea to KIMA to make sure there were no conflicts, then recruited Culver, a medical technologist, to join the venture.
“The advantage we have over a clinic is you don't have to take the good part of a day to keep the appointment,” Culver said.
Mobile drug testing isn’t a new idea — similar ventures have hit the road from Utah to Maryland — but Kodiak Island Mobile Screening may be a first in Alaska.
Culver does the testing during the day, and Vest works nights and weekends. Combined, they have over 50 years of experience. They are fully licensed and nationally certified, and their results can be used in court.
Kodiak Island Mobile Screening will do drug tests for Department of Transportation employees, fishermen, businesses, kids, pre-employment, post-accident and anyone else who needs one.
“Our target market is whoever needs us,” Culver said. “It would be nice if more people knew we did pre-employment, post-accident and random drug and alcohol testing.”
They also provide ongoing monitoring services for people who need regular drug screening while working toward a license or certification.
In addition to the standard urine and saliva tests, Kodiak Island Mobile Screening offers hair analysis. The hair analysis can obtain records of drug use for up to three months, depending on the amount of hair available.
“The neat thing about that is it gives you a history of drug use up to 90 days,” Vest said.
A typical test takes around 20 minutes to complete, and results are received within three to seven days.
The job isn’t always easy, especially when they deal with someone who is reluctant to take the test, Culver said.
“It’s a sensitive area, especially for the individuals who think they’re going to be positive,” she said.
This is Vest’s first business venture, and he said it’s about providing a service to the community.
“I feel like I’m helping somebody,” Vest said. “I really think there should be more screening for drugs, especially here in Kodiak. There’s a lot more than people want to admit.”
The two will have a booth at ComFish this April to make people in Kodiak’s fishing industry more aware of their services.
“I think (fishermen) could utilize this,” Vest said. “I really see a lot of seasonal people using us when fishing gets underway.”
Testing ranges in price from $30 to $100, depending on the type of test.
To schedule a screening or for more information, contact Rosemary Culver at 512-7697 or Tom Vest at 512-7698. Inquiries can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at email@example.com.