Employee Drug Testing: The Why, What, and How
A productive and safe work environment depends upon having healthy and happy employees. Employee drug testing in the workplace can help that. Workplace drug testing is a necessity in today’s business society.
Unfortunately, substance abuse is a rampant problem in the world, and it’s a constant threat that confronts businesses everywhere. It can result in a multitude of issues for your company.
Among them: lost productivity, higher absenteeism, costly mistakes, and more workmen’s compensation claims. And that can all put a damper on your staff’s morale and your business’s bottom line.
Provided your employee drug testing program follows all laws and best practices, testing job candidates and existing employees for illegal drug use and substance abuse can help ensure a work environment where employees feel valued and secure.
It can also ultimately save the lives of those who are suffering from addiction.
Starting an Employee Drug Testing Program
Before implementing a drug screening program, make sure you’ve done your research to ensure your policy is legal, ethical, and non-discriminatory.
An attorney and a human resources specialist can guide you through the process. They can review your policy for any legal red flags.
What Drugs Should You Test For In the Workplace?
Substances that you should consider testing for include:
Although amphetamines (AMP) are used in many legal prescription drugs (such as Adderall), people commonly abuse these central nervous system stimulants.
Methamphetamines (mAMP), the illegal version of amphetamines, is a substance your company will want to screen for, as well.
Primarily used to control seizures and help people overcome anxiety before surgery, barbiturates (BAR) are legal only when prescribed by a physician.
Because these central nervous system depressants are prone to be abused, it’s helpful to include them in your company’s drug testing program.
A widely prescribed class of medicine in the United States, benzodiazepines (BZO) help treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions by slowing down the central nervous system.
Common prescription drugs such as Xanax and Valium are benzodiazepines.
Buprenorphine (BUP), a semi-synthetic opiate painkiller, doesn’t offer the same level of “high” as other opiates. With effects that stop working at a moderate dose, buprenorphine is less likely to be abused—but abuse does happen.
It’s another substance for which testing is beneficial to ensure a safe and drug-free workplace.
Cannabinoids (and Marijuana)
These psychological altering compounds and the cannabis (marijuana) plant from which cannabinoids are derived are illegal in most states. The types of cannabinoids include Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabinodiol (CBDL), and Tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC). The most commonly known THC is in the form of the dried, crushed brown and green leaves of the marijuana plant.
In some states, cannabinoids are legal (by prescription) to treat medical conditions. And in some areas, recreational use of marijuana has been legalized.
Because cannabinoids affect memory and motor skills, they can result in accidents and poor judgment on the job.
In addition to natural cannabinoids, synthetic versions are also out there. They present the risk of fatal side effects.
The use of Cocaine (COC) is a highly addictive substance that is illegal and never safe to use (unless for medical reasons under the close supervision of a physician).
Cocaine can put immense stress on the brain and cardiovascular system. The substance has many street names including blow, crack, candy, and others.
This synthetic mind-altering drug is infamous for its use in clubs, raves, and parties.
Ecstacy, also known as MDMA (methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine), is illegal under any circumstances. The drug is both a stimulant and a hallucinogen, and it can cause extreme (and deadly) side effects.
When prescribed by a doctor, methadone (MTD) is a legal drug.
It is used to help relieve the pain from withdrawal that recovering narcotics addicts experience as they go through their detoxification period.
Methadone is an opioid, and although it doesn’t provide a “high” like other opiates, the risk of abuse and addiction is always a possibility.
Derived from opium (a narcotic from the opium poppy plant), opiates come in a variety of forms and are mainly used to ease the pain.
Heroin, an illegal opiate, has been responsible for a rising number of overdose deaths in the United States. According to the CDC statistics, “From 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates increased by 20.6%, with nearly 13,000 people dying in 2015.”
Phencyclidine (PCP) has hallucinogenic and mind-altering effects on those who use this highly addictive illegal substance.
It was originally introduced in the 1950s to serve in the beneficial role of a surgical anesthetic.
Then discontinued as an anesthetic for people in 1965 because of the temporary irrational and delusional state it caused in those to whom it was administered. In 1978, it became illegal in the U.S.
Ready to Ensure a Safe, Drug-free Work Environment?
Maintaining a healthy and safe workplace is serious business. Make sure you order drug test kits from a provider you can trust.
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Businesses, court systems, transportation authorities, federal and state agencies, and medical institutions around the world have relied on our patented technology.
Explore the wide variety of drug testing products we have available, and please contact us if you have questions about which products will best serve your organization’s needs.