Drug Screening Programs: What Employers Need to Know

Some of our clients have told us they don’t want to do drug screening because, “If I do, I’d lose half my workforce.”  The news media says, “We are having an opiate epidemic!”  I got a client call recently from Maryland close to D.C. who said, “We are doing random drug testing and one of my employees tested positive for marijuana which is not legal in MD but legal in D.C. and since it stays in the body for a month, what do I do, terminate them like our policy states?”

So what are you to do?  Some of you have no choice because your industry requires it or you are a property management company where your employees go into resident’s homes and you need it for liability purposes.

In order to make an informed decision,  I thought you might like some statistics provided by Quest. Relating to drugs use at work, the good news is their testing showed opiate use was down 17% in the US in 2017 vs 2016.  The bad news is Cocaine positivity is up 7% in 2017 and overall workforce positivity is up to 4.2% versus 3.6% in 2008.

Knowing this you need to analyze the risk such as liability for worker mistakes or loss of sales or reputation from mistakes and decide how to proceed.  Some of the options: do drug testing when hiring, do drug testing if something seems off, do monthly random drug testing, or do nothing.