Most employers have a pre-employment drug testing policy. Random testing and test on reasonable suspicion are also carried out as and when required. Employees returning to the duty may be required to undergo fresh tests. The employer may have a policy of follow up test. When there is an accident due to human error, members of staff suspected of under the influence of a drug or any other intoxicant are required to undergo drug tests.
Drug tests are used to screen individuals for use of drugs like cocaine, marijuana, opioids, phencyclidine, and amphetamines. At some places, employers are required by federal laws to perform additional drug tests for Schedule II drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. Drugs tested under this program include hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, oxycodone, and others. Bodily samples like saliva, hair, urine, sweat, and blood are collected for the drug tests.
A large number of people using illegal drugs are employed in jobs. Their use of banned substances affects their work performance. There are safety risks for everyone if such individuals are employed to handle sensitive tasks like operating machines. Even otherwise, drug users are less productive. It has been noticed that this group of candidates changes job frequently. They are often late or absent from work. They have behavioral issues and can harm others. They are often the cause of workplace accidents. Such individuals often file for compensation claims and prove costly for their employer.
Because of these disadvantages of employing drug users, employers are very careful in hiring a person. Simple drug tests before hiring as well as during the employment period help avoid many of drug-related workplace problems. A successful drug-free workplace program improves the productivity of the whole organization. It results in fewer issues of downtime, accidents, theft, and absenteeism. It reduces the expenses of employers and they face fewer compensation claims. Healthy workers work harder and more productively. The incidents of accident, disability, damage, theft and compensation claim come down significantly. In many industries, drug testing is mandatory under federal and state laws. It is implemented at workplaces where the workers have to handle critical tasks and operations.
There is an incentive for employers to create safe, healthy and productive workplace. The government has various alcohol and drug compliance policies. It offers assistance to employers through various outreach programs. These programs are offered by many government departments. Details of drug-free workplace policies related to each industry are available at websites of relevant government departments. These departments often conduct education, awareness and outreach programs. The goal of these programs is to deter the use of illicit drugs at workplaces. It ensures people who are employed in both critical and not so critical workplaces are trustworthy, healthy and drug-free. Such individuals perform their duties properly and optimally.
Drug testing in schools is conducted to find students suspected of using illicit drugs or misusing prescription drugs. A student may be asked to undergo a drug test if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug use. At the same time, there are many restrictions in place to avoid misuse of such a policy by the school governing body. The goal is to deter the use of the illicit drug and identify students who are vulnerable to using such drugs. This program also covers misuse of over the counter drugs.
Employers are required to have a clear policy of drug testing at the workplace. The policy must be available in the written form and made available to all employees in advance. Applicants applying for the job must be made aware of such a policy before the job application. The policy should clearly specify under what laws and regulations these drug tests are conducted. The staff should be made aware why they are required to undergo the drug tests. There should be support service to assist employees who need any information or assistance on drug test programs. The employees must be made aware of the consequences of violating the drug-free workplace policy.
Employee education, employee assistance programs and supervisor training are some of the things that can be used to make the workplace drug free. Such a workplace is in the interests of everyone including the employer, employees and other stakeholders. It helps create a safe environment for customers, clients, passengers, and visitors. Drug testing is in the interest of employees themselves. When they are more productive, perform better and excel in their job, they have better prospects of promotion and landing higher paying jobs. It is beneficial for their family members, society, and the governments.