Employer Drug Testing

Substance abuse is on the rise since the Covid pandemic began in early 2020. Now more than ever employers need to look towards workplace drug testing in order to avoid liabilities, lowered productivity and accidents in the workplace.

SAMHSA SURVEY 2022 –  Among people aged 12 or older, an estimated 70.3 million people used illicit drugs in the past year (2022 survey) [24.9% of population]

In this article we will cover:

How to set up a drug testing program

If you need to drug test an employee or applicant, you can do this immediately without having to set up an account.  You can order a drug test online or call 866-843-4545. Drug testing centers are available in all areas of the United States.

Setting up a comprehensive program with a drug free workplace policy is easy also.  Check out our free white paper on creating your Drug Screening Policy. Our expert drug testing professionals can guide you through what is required for a comprehensive drug free workplace program available for employers regulated by DOT or non-regulated. Best practices for the drug free workplace program would be to include:


You can submit all your information here for the employer account for a drug testing program

Our expert professionals can write your drug free workplace policy for you.

Check out our free white paper on creating your Drug Screening Policy.

When should I drug test employees

At a minimum most companies will do pre-employment testing once an offer of employment is made. You don’t want to hire someone who is a substance abuser. If you hire a liability, you own that liability. Remember that approximately 20% of Americans over 18, are admitting to the use of illicit drugs.

Once you hire employees, you may want to consider ongoing drug testing including random drug testing, post-accident drug testing, reasonable suspicion drug testing, return to duty drug testing and follow-up drug testing. These types of drug tests will help your company to remain drug free.

Random drug testing is required for DOT regulated employers and an option for non-regulated employers. Random drug testing serves as a deterrent to drug use and an early identifier of your employees who might get involved with drugs. Our expert drug testing professionals can help you define a random testing program customized for your company.

Post-accident drug and alcohol testing is important to determine if the accident might have been caused by the use of illicit drugs or alcohol impairment. This can potentially lead to the denial of the workers compensation claim. This can save your company a lot of money.

When an employee appears to be impaired at work, reasonable suspicion drug testing is necessary to remove that person from the workplace for safety reasons. Supervisors should have reasonable suspicion training to be able to determine signs and symptoms of potential impairment at work. Once a reasonable suspicion decision is made, the reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing should be immediate.

Return to duty and follow up drug testing are covered in the next section – What happens when an employee tests positive. Both of these testing reasons deal with an employee who has had a positive drug test result and the employer after rehabilitation is allowing the employee to come back to work.

What happens when an employee tests positive

Your employee tests positive on a random test, post-accident test or reasonable suspicion test; what do you do? This is why your written drug free workplace policy is so important so that when this happens you simply follow your policy. Some employers will require immediate termination following a positive drug test. Some employers will allow a second chance, requiring rehabilitation or employee assistance program (EAP). This typically will result in a second chance agreement.

For those employers who offer a second chance policy, a return to duty drug test should be required once the employee completes the rehabilitation and is released back to work. A schedule of follow-up drug testing may then be required to insure the employee stays clean. For DOT regulated companies the return to duty test and follow up testing are required. The DOT regulated employee must see a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) as part of his or her return to duty process.

What about marijuana testing

With medical and recreational marijuana now legal in the majority of the United States, every employer must make decisions about marijuana and testing for marijuana. Drug testing for marijuana is legal and actually required for employers regulated by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

There are a few jurisdictions when pre-employment testing for marijuana is prohibited, most notably – New York City and Philadelphia. In a few States the laws allow testing for marijuana but do not allow an employer to take adverse action against an employee solely based on a positive marijuana test. You must get educated on marijuana laws in the States you operate in. Every State has different laws. We highly recommend our web pages on Workplace Considerations for Marijuana Use.

The Importance of Employer Drug Testing

A business that fosters a drug free workplace is a business that customers can trust. Every year, more employers incorporate drug testing into their hiring process. In some industries like construction, manufacturing, and emergency services; working while under the influence can cost not just money, but lives. Don’t risk your company’s reputation and the safety of your workers. Learn how employer drug testing can save your company from disaster and the resources that are available to you.

A Drug-Free Company Culture

Managers and employees should work together to foster a substance-free workplace. Managers can start by posting a written policy regarding drug testing and drug free workplace policies before and after the hiring process. Employees should be aware of random drug testing requirements and understand that substance use is incompatible with the conditions of their employment.

An effective drug-free workplace program includes written materials, ongoing education and training, an assistance program to help employees discontinue existing drug use and finally drug testing. While drug testing isn’t mandatory in all industries; DOT required drug testing, for example, helps protect transportation workers and customers from potential accidents. Work with your top-level executives, managers and supervisors to determine the ideal drug-free workplace policy for your company.

Mandatory Drug Testing

By law, employees in certain fields must undergo drug testing before employment and random drug testing thereafter. Workers in the airline, trucking, pipeline, railroad and transit are required to participate in drug testing including random drug testing. Check out our web page to learn more about our DOT drug testing services.

Workplace Safety

The primary objective of drug testing is to ensure a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) supports drug free workplace programs for employees that work with heavy-duty equipment, machinery, or vehicles. A drug-free worker is more likely to identify, avoid, and prevent workplace hazards and help co-workers do the same. Even if your company operates outside of these fields, drug testing can help protect you from costly mistakes that can ruin business partnerships and tarnish your public image.

If you want to implement a drug-free policy at your company, you can start with pre-employment drug testing at one of our nearby drug testing clinics. Testing most often involves taking a urine sample. Other options include hair follicle testing, breath alcohol testing, saliva and oral fluid drug testing and blood samples.

The Costs of Workplace Drug Abuse

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that drug abuse costs U.S. businesses over $100 billion each year. Common substances include prescription opioids, methamphetamines, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, and marijuana. Drug testing minimizes the risk of loss and protects your company from liability due to substance-induced decisions.

Public Image

Customers want to know they can trust a company, especially if they are looking for a service. A company committed to drug-free practices can gain an advantage over competitors who have yet to adopt a policy.

Employer Benefits

In several states, employers who enforce drug testing policies may be eligible for workers’ compensation savings and other insurance discounts. For example, a healthcare insurance provider may offer group benefits, helping to minimize the cost of healthcare programs offered to employees. If an employee is discharged due to a violation of their company’s drug-free policy, they may be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. After an accident, in many cases a positive drug or alcohol test will result in the denial of a worker comp claim. This saves the company and the insurance company a lot of money.

National Drug Screening offers both non-regulated and DOT required drug testing, including same-day orders, across the United States. Drug testing clinics are open during regular business hours to conduct drug and alcohol tests. Experienced lab technicians carefully analyze every test result for potential issues. All final test results are reviewed and verified by a medical review officer (MRO). Employers can also order a write-up or revision of a drug free workplace policy.

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