National Study Finds 60% of Marijuana Users Abstain Less Than a 30 days Before Employment Drug Testing
Pre-employment drug testing is a requirement for many employers. However, through studies, it has been found that over sixty percent of marijuana users kept using drugs within one month before their drug tests. About 70% of users admitted that within a month of having a drug test for work, they started using marijuana again.
So what’s the point? Drug testing performed prior to employment does not seem to have much of an effect at keeping employees from using drugs. In fact, approximately 75% of drug users are employed, according to study performed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
This research shows that habitual use of drugs is prevalent throughout the workforce and is a reason as to why employers may want to perform random drug testing versus just pre-planned testing.
Drug use within the workplace poses a greater risk for things like accidents and injury, more insurance and worker’s compensation claims, and a tarnished reputation among consumers and communities.
For companies that want to create an environment of a “drug free” workplace, then pre-employment drug testing is just one of the steps they should be taking to create this. It is necessary for companies to be consistent with their approach to drugs and use random testing to help increase their drug free efforts.
Workplace Drug Testing Procedures
As companies’ tolerance of drugs decreases, their prevention efforts should be increasing. Below are a few ways employers work to prevent drug use among their employees.
- Pre-employment Testing
To start things off, employers often do testing prior to employment to help them screen their perspective employees for drug use. Although urine tests are common and simple to use, these pre-employment urinalysis tests are an inadequate way to measure habitual use.
Urine drug tests are also super easy to tamper with; so many companies are switching to hair follicle drug tests, which are extremely accurate and less easy to alter on the spot.
- Random Drug Testing
Random tests at work are set up to provide employers with a way to keep an eye on their employees’ habits of drug use. Random testing can be effective at deterring use in that anyone can be chosen at any time for testing, thus it can encourage employees to refrain from drug use. Many places use urine tests, but random urine test results will give a brief look into drug use.
The detection time for urinalysis tests is quite short though, so just performing urine screens randomly still does not provide an effective way to see overall habits of drug use among their employees.
- Drug Testing Quarterly
Hair drug tests performed quarterly are one of the surest ways for employers to capture habits of their employees’ drug use. Drug tests on hair can detect use for up to 90 days, thus a quarterly test is a better way to encourage employees to remain drug free.
Hair follicle tests are more difficult to beat, as they cannot be altered at the time of testing, thus some employers go toward this type of test. During a hair test, the inside layers of the hair strands are tested for drugs, as the metabolites bind to the hair and remain on the inner layers of the follicles.
This makes working on how to pass a hair follicle drug test more difficult. Hair on any part of the body can be tested, so this is another way it can be tougher to cheat on this kind of test.
- Reasonable Suspicion Testing
If an employer has a reason to suspect drug use by an employee, they can be tested. The use of reasonable suspicion drug testing allows employers an objective way to test their employees if the employees’ actions demonstrate possible drug use.
- Promotional Testing
With this type of testing, drug tests are performed when considering someone for a promotion. This type of drug testing gives an incentive to employees to refrain from drug use so as not to hold themselves back from progressing in their employment.
Hair testing, random testing, and quarterly testing can all be part of promotional drug testing, so employers can help ensure the employees they are promoting are upholding the company’s drug free policy. Because promotions are often random, the use of drug tests to get promoted can help deter employees from habitual drug use.
Employer Drug Testing Policy Effectiveness
Drug tests are not required by law for all employers, but many take advantage of such programs to help keep their workforce safer and decrease costs.
Drug free workplace policy benefits can be numerous if the program is consistent and includes effective testing. Fewer missed days of work, increased attention and production, and lower workplace volatility and liability are results employers and employees can benefit from with effective drug test policies.
Testing for drugs can be a beneficial procedure for employers, but it must include more than simply pre-employment testing. Employers must set expectations for their drug policies and then work up to those expectations. The more drug testing employers perform, the more they can work toward their ideal setting of a drug free workforce.