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Drug Testing Policies


I heard a story recently about an employer who had to fire his best shift manager. The manager had been involved in an accident at work which triggered the company’s requirement for a drug test. The manager tested positive for marijuana. The employer stated, “I don’t think he was high and I really don’t think marijuana use caused the accident but I had to follow policy.” THC stays in the body for days (weeks sometimes) after last use so the test doesn’t prove impairment. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a test (similar to the breathalyzer for alcohol) that shows impairment due to marijuana use.


It’s because of stories such as this that many employers have eliminated marijuana from their drug test panels. But consider this: The expert presenter in a seminar I attended recently cited statistics such as: 25% of all employed cannabis users from some of the early states to legalize its use (CO, WA, OR) admit having used at work or immediately prior to coming to work. Of the workers who said they’d gotten high just before work, 27% said they do so every day.


We can customize your drug tests for you and test only for drugs you are concerned about. Gone are the days when employers can just order a “standard drug test.” In fact, Safer Places clients that do drug testing are now asked to complete a form in which they select the testing panel that best suits their needs. What used to be considered standard doesn’t include a test for synthetic opiates (a huge problem today). And drug use overall is up significantly by most accounts, likely due at least in part to the pandemic. (unemployment, depression, isolation, etc. contribute to drug abuse).


In my opinion, now is not the time to cut back on drug testing; not if you’re concerned about workplace safety. However, now is a good time to review your policies and procedures. It’s also a good time to review how you train your supervisors to spot people who may be impaired.

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