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Workplace Drug Testing in 2020

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Trusted
#1
Last night an acquaintance of mine told me she was randomly drug tested at work (she passed), but I recalled having read some reports that workplace drug tests aren't as accurate as many people think they are, especially considering all that is riding on the results of such a test. That crossed my mind when I got my last pre-employment drug test, but luckily I passed, too.

Many moons ago there was a thread here on drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. Alcohol and Drug Testing Policy - Evidence of effectiveness? Since that thread is over 16 years old, and many things have changed (like some states legalizing pot) and I didn't see anything newer, I figured I'd start a new thread.

Does your company do pre-employment drug testing? Random testing? Post-event testing (like after an accident)? Does it include pot? Does it weed-out (no pun intended) a lot of candidates? Do you do it because of regulatory requirements or for other reasons?
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#2
I have a couple of friends who worked for companies requiring drug tests. One is retired and one will retire in 4 months. Neither was asked to take a drug test after the pre-employment screen.

With regard to marijuana, there are 2 metabolites - Washington state has looked into it. I did see Marijuana Roadside Test Difficulties

I know hair is the longest lasting (and expensive to test thus rarely used) and blood is the most accurate 'instant' test.

I admit I haven't followed the state of the art of tests for marijuana, so I can't say much about that aspect.

My overall understanding is that most of the workplace drug testing was mostly knee jerk, in part because most jobs of significance (e.g.: airline, tow motor drivers, most medical personnel, etc.) were already covered by regulations. What I have read in general has been that marijuana is pretty much the only substance that lasts long enough to be tested for (with the exception of hair). I am not aware of any recent studies on effectiveness in the work place, but this 2016 article is OK: The Supreme Pointlessness of Drug Testing at Work
The evidence that it deters drug users and enhances efficiency at work is simply too thin. “There are many potential ... causes of poor productivity, such as family problems or emotional problems or dysfunctional personalities, that collectively have a stronger impact on employee outcomes than drug use per se,” says Frone.
 

RCH2016

Involved In Discussions
#3
I had a false positive for pot several years ago on a random test. It took a week for the secondary testing to throw out the spot test. Next random test I get I am going to ask for the "nurse's" business card so I know where to send the lawsuit papers. No one should be forced to endure what I did for a week.

We do have preemployment testing, and, supposedly random testing, but it has been several years since we have had one of those. A decade and a half or so ago we did have some zombies on site, so at that time we had to do something, but a program like that can easily spin out of control, IMHO.
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#4
You also might want to look at the effectiveness of drug testing for (what used to be called) welfare recipients. Most states have eliminated or reduced testing because the number of people testing positive was/is so low and it was costing more to test than their expected 'savings'. Politically, though, it is popular.

Most company drug testing started under Reagan (remember Say No to Drugs?). Like so many of these things, the potential/expected results have not met reality. I think of the words "political grandstanding". While some countries still have very severe penalties (e.g: Bali, Thailand, China) more and more countries are decriminalizing most drug use - Spain and Switzerland have successful decriminalization programs.

In companies, I think pre-employment may be somewhat effective (my guess), but again - I haven't seen recent numbers either way.
 

Mikey324

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
In my area, i would say 99% of manufacturing jobs require at least a pre-employment screening. Most around here will test randomly and post-incident as well. As for how effective a pre-screening is, I'm not really sure. With people knowing a pre-screen will be required, how many will discontinue use for a week prior? Would that technically be a false negative?
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#6
In my own experience, I think that alcohol abuse is a bigger workplace issue than drugs, especially weed. Most companies use saliva testing for drugs, which works for up to 48 hours after exposure.
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#8
In my area, i would say 99% of manufacturing jobs require at least a pre-employment screening. Most around here will test randomly and post-incident as well. As for how effective a pre-screening is, I'm not really sure. With people knowing a pre-screen will be required, how many will discontinue use for a week prior? Would that technically be a false negative?
Part of the reason I believe pre-screening might be somewhat effect is that anyone not smart enough, or just plain too lazy not to 'prepare' would be screened out (the worst of the worst).
 
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