September 18, 2021

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5 Facts You Must Know About Employment Drug Tests

4 min read

At present, employment drug testing has become the new normal in the workplaces. For both job seekers and employees, an employer can ask for this action to determine whether an individual is under any substance’s influence. Unlike local government institutions and state colleges, testing is not compulsory in the private sector. Still, many employers are making it mandatory. The question arises, why suddenly employment drug tests are becoming so popular? Before delving, let’s see some facts regarding drug abuse.


As per data, in the U.S., employers lose almost USD 81 billion yearly to low productivity and accidents because of drug abuse. Drug and alcohol abuse results in 65 percent of job accidents and around 50 percent of all compensation claims. Studies even show that the cost of occupational injuries exceeds almost USD 100 billion that cover the medical expenses and other costs borne by the injured employees and their families.


Employment drug testing programs are becoming an effective way to check job candidates for drug abuse through pre-employment testing. People already working with the organization can also be a part of the same program through random and annual testings, post-accident testings, and suspicion testing. If you’re the one who has an encounter with this term for the first time as an applicant, employee, or employer, here are five things you must know about employment drug tests.

1.  Why Is It Done?

The most reasonable answer involves the health and safety of the employees. All employees are liable to receive a protective environment irrespective of the establishment. People with addiction can show lower concentration levels that can be detrimental to safe being for all. For certain occupations that require robust safety standards, for instance, heavy machinery, illicit drugs can impact the judgemental level, performance, and productivity of an employee that can put everyone at equal risks.

For an employer, a drug test can be a preventive measure to avoid legal complications. In many states, laws require workplaces to maintain drug-free policies. If any of the employees create trouble under drug influence, the government can hold the company responsible. There can even be a court drug test in case of any dispute. A pre-employment drug test is, therefore, an effective way to keep away from lawsuits.

2.  Which Substances Come Under The Radar?

As per guidelines, the most common drug screening test involves five illicit drugs. They are amphetamines, tetrahydrocannabinol, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine. This test category is called the 5-panel test. There can be 8-panel and 10-panel tests that include other drugs like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and methadone. Sometimes there are tests for prescription medicine, steroids, LSD, magic mushrooms, and others.

3.  What Methods are Used For Screenings?

In most cases, screening for drugs takes place before the final process of hiring. Here the applicant is notified beforehand to be present at the lab within a specific time frame. There can be urine, swab, and blood test to screen substances, including nicotine, alcohol, or marijuana. A hair drug test can also happen to know if the job applicant or employee has any previous encounter with drugs. It analyzes signs of substances like methamphetamine and phencyclidine used 90 days before the test. However, in jobs where high safety measures are required, employers can ask for random tests, only if it is mandatory. These tests may include breath-analyzer tests for alcohol or rapid tests for drugs that metabolize quickly. To know the presence of drug residue in the body, an employer can ask for a urinalysis that imparts results in a few hours.

4.  Legalities involved

Testing employees or applicants for drugs just because it’s the employer’s mere idea is strictly against the law. If an employer wants to create a substance-free environment, he must adhere to the rules and have an all-inclusive written policy. All employees and the applicants should be issued a copy for signature. By this, employers can legally request mandatory drug testing from state-approved labs.

An employer should test at least 50 percent of employees one after the other. Targeting an individual employee is strictly prohibited unless the authority finds him taking drugs or showing abnormal conduct. If the test comes positive, it’s the sole responsibility of the employer to decide the actions. However, the employer’s substance-free policy should mention beforehand the exact consequences of violating the code of conduct.

5.  Benefits Of Drug Testing

Testing employees can detect and prevent substance abuse. It can help the employer and employee simultaneously.

Advantages For the Employer:

  • Ensure a secure work environment.
  • Decrease employee absenteeism.
  • Detecting and helping employees with addiction.
  • Reduce employee healthcare costs.
  • Compliance with federal laws.
  • Boosts morale and improves the efficiency of the workforce.
  • Consistency in work.
  • Profitable business.

Advantages For Employees:

  • Safe working.
  • Productive workplace.
  • Improvement in job performances
  • Fewer accidents.
  • Increment in personal and monetary growth.


Both employers and employees share common goals. Running a successful business is one of them. Drug testing can ensure a workplace is secure enough to provide the best working environment for all the staff. Moreover, testing potential candidates can help in hiring efficient personnel who can return a considerable good ROI. In the long run, it is beneficial for individual growth and the overall development of the establishment.

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