Drug testing is one action an employer can take to determine if employees or job applicants are using drugs. It can identify evidence of recent use of alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs. The professional medical team at Doctors Immediate Care can preform these tests for you. Call our office to make an appointment.
Currently, drug testing does not test for impairment or whether a person’s behavior is, or was, impacted by drugs. Drug testing works best when implemented based on a clear, written policy that is shared with all employees, along with employee education about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, supervisor training on the signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse, and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide help for employees who may have an alcohol or drug problem.
Why do employers drug test?
Alcohol and drug abuse creates significant safety and health hazards and can result in decreased productivity and poor employee morale. It also can lead to additional costs in the form of health care claims, especially short-term disability claims.
Employers implement drug testing to:
- Deter employees from abusing alcohol and drugs
- Prevent hiring individuals who use illegal drugs
- Be able to identify early and appropriately refer employees who have drug and/or alcohol problems
- Provide a safe workplace for employees
- Protect the general public and instill consumer confidence that employees are working safely
- Comply with State laws or Federal regulations
- Benefit from Workers’ Compensation Premium Discount programs
How is drug testing conducted and how accurate is it?
Generally, most private employers have a fair amount of latitude in implementing drug testing for their organization, unless they are subject to certain Federal regulations, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) drug-testing rules for employees in safety-sensitive positions. However, Federal agencies conducting drug testing must follow standardized procedures established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
While private employers are not required to follow these guidelines, doing so can help them stay on safe legal ground. Court decisions have supported following these guidelines, and as a result, many employers choose to follow them. These Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing (also called SAMHSA’s guidelines) include having a Medical Review Officer (MRO) evaluate tests. They also identify the five substances tested for in Federal drug-testing programs and require the use of drug labs certified by SAMHSA.
The most common method of drug testing, urinalysis, can be done at the workplace (at a health unit, for example), a doctor’s office or any other site selected by the employer. An employee or applicant provides a sample to be tested. Usually precautions are taken, such as putting blue dye in the toilet and turning off the water supply, to prevent adulteration or substitution of specimens so that collection can be completed in privacy without any direct visual observation by another person.
Under SAMHSA’s guidelines, once a sample is provided, it is sent to a certified laboratory. The accuracy of drug tests done by certified laboratories is very high, but this certification applies only to the five substances tested for in Federal drug-testing programs and alcohol.