Workplace Drug Testing: What You Need to Know

3d pharmaceutical law signSubstance abuse continues to have a negative impact on the U.S. economy through lost workplace productivity, increased accidents, injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale and huge healthcare costs.  

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the rate of drug abuse remains high among young individuals aged 18 years and older, who are entering the workforce rapidly. Therefore, 62 percent of all American employers have a workplace drug testing policy in place to detect drug abuse cases among their employees.

Though opting for a workplace drug screening program seems like a simple task, the myriad of options available for testing and recording the results, legal and compliance regulations and the increasing prevalence of synthetic drug abuse — which may or may not be detected using regular tests — can make it challenging for employers to comply with local drug regulations.

Moreover, drug screening at workplace has always been controversial as the legislation, scientific studies and prevention programmes are constantly evolving. Thus, employers often wonder where to draw the line between the right to privacy and the right to professionalism at the workplace.

Testing prospective candidates and existing employees for illicit use of drugs and alcohol can help detect and curb substance abuse at the workplace, thereby fostering a safe and productive work environment for all. However, every workplace is unique as it has to deal with a different set of employees and consider all the major workplace safety goals to be achieved. Hence, it is critical for employers to determine the precise workplace drug testing elements that will steer them towards their safety objectives.

A variety of substance abuse detection and prevention strategies are available for organizations. These strategies need to be implemented in accordance with the Drug Free Workplace Act, employee assistance programs and under certain conditions. Without adequate knowledge about the major drug categories, the history of illicit drugs, how they are consumed and their effects and existing drug regulations, it can be challenging for an organization to implement a successful drug screening program that adequately supports a drug-free workplace.

An effective drug testing program requires active coordination between the employee, employer, union, laboratory, counselors and/or treatment professionals.

Dealing with illicit drugs and alcohol at a workplace can be a sensitive topic. Therefore, before implementing a drug screening program at the workplace, employers should understand substance abuse, its prevalence and impact on the American culture.

Originally Published at Confirm BioSciences

Author Bio: Lisa Rutherford is marketing associate at Confirm BioSciences, a U.S.-based drug testing company. She is also a writer and regularly covers topics related to substance abuse, its health effects, causes and recovery. She handles content management responsibilities at Confirm BioSciences as well. She is a staunch supporter of a drug-free corporate environment.

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