There has been a tremendous rise in the usage and negative effects of opioid-based drugs in the United States – and increasingly it is becoming a challenge to manage them in the workplace. This is having a serious emotional and financial impact that is being measured in the billions of dollars.
So, it is no surprise that companies have many questions about testing for opiates in the workforce and what to do when an employee’s results are positive for those drugs.
By addressing the opioid problem, companies can improve worker safety and increase productivity. We have found it particularly useful to have a fully developed drug screening policy that starts in the pre-employment phase in order to discourage drug use in the workplace.
At U.S. HealthWorks, we test for opiates in our standard 5-panel test. We are currently working with thousands of companies across the nation to address this workforce issue through pre-employment, post-accident, random, and suspicion based testing.
“We’ve found that including opioid testing in our existing battery of tests has been a huge benefit for companies that we work with,” said Dr. Donald Bucklin, Chief Medical Officer at U.S. HealthWorks. “As the incidents of opioid use have gone up we have been able to provide a structured process that improves employee health and provides confidential and compliant screenings for our partners.”
For companies unsure of how to activate drug testing for opioids, we recommend consulting with a drug screening expert. Our certified medical review officers are experienced in drug screening and compliance. They can help you set up a comprehensive plan that establishes a clean policy for testing, invests in protecting your people and your assets, and is confidential and secure. We’ll help you establish this process and then work to clearly communicate with any of your employees who are going through the screening process.
All of our drug testing is done in the strictest confidence and the results are electronically secure. We typically provide drug screening across the following categories:
- Pre-employment testing
Employers generally begin the drug testing process prior to employment begins. According to experts, pre-employment drug testing is best done after the new employee has been selected so money isn’t spent on candidates who are not the right fit for the job. If you implement pre-employment testing, you must be consistent and test every candidate after your offer of employment.
- Post-accident testing
In the event of a job-related injury, employers should require all employees involved in the accident to be tested for the presence of drugs. If you are suspicious of the circumstances surrounding an accident, post-accident drug testing can help protect you and your company from any potential legal implications. Be sure that your company policy states who needs to be tested and when.
- Random testing
Random drug testing can be performed throughout the year unannounced. Experts recommend that you hire a third party to manage your random drug testing practices to avoid accusations of discrimination. Local laws often dictate the specific circumstances wherein random testing of employees can be conducted, so be sure to confer with your local government before conducting random drug testing.
- Reasonable suspicion testing
Reasonable suspicion drug testing is often the most difficult aspect of a drug testing program. To reduce risks, have your assigned evaluators undergo professional training so they’ll be aware of the signs and symptoms of drug abuse.
All of these categories can be valuable tools in the battle against opioids in the workplace. We encourage anyone with questions about opioid prevalence in the workplace to contact us or leave comments below.