As an employer, you have the right to make sure your employees are not abusing illegal substances. You are furthermore entitled to know if the people who work for you are using legal substances, such as alcohol, in excessive quantities. 

These occurrences can prevent an employee from fulfilling the obligations of their job description. Worse still, they can put the lives of fellow employees and the public at large.

Here are some ways you can test employees for drug use and what to expect:

Blood tests

A blood test examines what illegal substances are in the blood at the time the sample is taken. Among the drugs that a blood test can find are cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates (such as heroin), nicotine, and alcohol.

If you want to use blood tests, bear in mind that you’ll need to hire someone qualified to draw blood. There are also the costs incurred during testing by the laboratory.

Hair testing

It is not that common for an employer to use hair testing to screen for drugs. It is a labor-intensive process and can be quite costly. Hair testing is usually done to test for long-term poisoning. However, as an employer, you could use hair testing to establish a pattern of use of illegal drugs.

Be aware of the state laws that govern how far you can go when it comes to drug testing, and whether hair tests are allowed. If not, you could find yourself in the middle of a nasty lawsuit if you insist on a hair test.

Oral testing

A mouth swab drug test is one of your best options when it comes to employees. It is simple to administer, so it doesn’t require the presence of a qualified individual. Another advantage is that oral testing provides immediate results as it indicates drug use within ten minutes.

An oral test works much the same as a pregnancy test. Once the swab has been covered by the subject’s saliva, it is inserted into the collection container. Thereafter, it runs the test panels, and colored lines will appear, indicating positive for drug use. Read the instructions of your preferred test to make sure you interpret the results correctly.

Urine testing

For years, urine testing has been the preferred mode of drug screening for employers, as it provides quick and accurate results. One of the reasons employers favor it is that it can detect the presence of trace amounts of a drug, even after its effects have worn off. Another reason that urine testing is popular is that it doesn’t require specialized knowledge to administer it.

Urine testing is a problem because it requires a degree of privacy, while the subject fills the specimen jar. There are countless tales of employees who have used someone else’s urine, which they can easily pour into the specimen jar when they’re in a toilet cubicle.

There’s no easy solution for this problem except to do random urine testing so that employees cannot ‘prepare’ for it.

Where does the law stand on marijuana?

The legalization of marijuana in several states has employers wondering what their rights are if an employee tests positive for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The federal government has not legalized marijuana use, which complicates the matter.

As an employer, you need to familiarize yourself with both federal and state laws regarding the use of THC. Some states protect employees who use medical marijuana from being disciplined for positive drug tests.

To protect yourself from lengthy lawsuits, consult an attorney to find out where you stand when it comes to your drug testing policy. The issues you discuss should be what limitations the law places on your policy, including cases of marijuana use.

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