What You Need to Know About Employee Drug Screening

What You Need to Know About Employee Drug Screening

In today’s business world, drug screening is a vital part of the employment screening process. Drug screening is something that may be legally required for certain jobs such as truck drivers or emergency workers, while may be up to the employer for other positions. Drug testing is really about ensuring a safe and productive work environment and is a best practice as it relates to risk mitigation

What is Drug Screening?

Drug screening is all tests administered to an employee or potential employee for the purpose of detecting the presence or prior use of illegal or illicit substances. This includes metabolites, the inactive metabolized forms of drugs. Such tests are often mandated for things like random employee testing, job applications, organized sports participation, police investigations, and more. The tests can vary in what they are looking for and how they are carried out.

Generally, drug tests are performed to detect the presence of the following substances:

  • Steroids
  • Phencyclidine
  • Barbiturates
  • Amphetamines, e.g. methamphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana

There are many different types of drug tests. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Hair tests
  • Blood tests
  • Saliva samples
  • Sweat samples
  • Urine samples

Why Bother with Drug Screening?

As said before, some positions may legally require drug screening. In these scenarios, the employer does not have a choice in whether they want to conduct drug screening. But for those non-mandatory situations when considering whether your organization should conduct pre-employment drug screening consider these factors:

Post-Accident Tests

If there was an accident at the workplace, drug screening can be used to determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in it and thus help reduce the employer’s liability. This also can let the employer know if there is a much bigger problem in the organization.

For Cause and Reasonable Suspicious Tests

If there are signs that an employee is unfit for the job and there is enough reason to suspect that the problems may be drug-related, employers can call for a drug test to determine whether this is the case for the safety of the workplace and the other employees.

Pre-Employment Tests

Employers can choose to administer drug tests prior to employing an individual if they so choose. In some jurisdictions or for certain job sectors, pre-employment tests may be mandatory under the law. Productivity, honesty, reliability, and safety can all be affected by those who use narcotics, even off the clock.

Post Treatment Tests

Employees returning to work after a rehab program may be required to undergo drug screening to judge their state of health.

Are Drug Tests Accurate?

Considering the judgments that might be made following the results of a drug test, the accuracy of those tests is particularly important. However, the accuracy can be affected by many factors.

  • Time between collecting the sample and testing it
  • Hair treatment products and similar things that can affect samples
  • Tampering with samples by the employee being tested
  • Hydration dilutes substance levels in urine

Most of all, the accuracy of drug tests is affected interpretation. A professional toxicologist sometimes known as a Medical Review Officer or MRO is required to accurately interpret positive drug test samples. This means it is vital to find a drug testing lab with a qualified professional to analyze the samples of any drug tests conducted at your place of business.

Generally, most drug tests requests can be ordered online or through text messages to the applicant. They can be conducted for an employee almost anywhere in the U.S. Results can be available in about 72 hours unless there is a positive result which needs to be reviewed by the MRO. If you are considering or have a drug screening program already, Nationwide Screening would be happy to help you set up a new program or review your existing program.

Meta Description: Drug screening is not always mandatory, but if you want to use it at your workplace, you need to know this info.