Photo illustration by Slate. I was shocked to hear, several weeks ago, that a fellow journalist, who recently started as a research editor at a national magazine, had been asked to pee into a cup. Why would a research editor need to undergo this screening? I was not myself drug-tested before publishing this story.
DuPont August 1, at 6: In post-accident drug and alcohol testing, the engineer driving the train tested positive for marijuana, although no one noticed anything unusual about his behavior before the crash that day.
The threat of workplace drug use was well-known even before the tragedy. Six years prior to the Amtrak incident, the crash of an aircraft aboard the USS Nimitz spurred an investigation by the U. These events helped prompt Congress to pass the Drug-Free Workplace Act in to address the issue of workforce drug use.
The act requires certain federal contractors and all federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency. Similarly, the explosive growth of crack cocaine in the United States in the mids focused attention on the workplace impact of drug use in the private sector.
This led to the implementation of workplace drug education, monitoring and employee assistance programs for both public and private employees. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of the medical and business communities, the rate of positive drug tests in the workforce has declined significantly among employers who have instituted a drug-free workplace policy since the implementation of the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
But this overall trend does not mean that employers, medical professionals, and policymakers can declare victory in the battle against drug use in the workplace. Based on analysis of more than 10 million workforce drug test results, Quest found that, while overall workplace positivity rates have dropped dramatically over the past two decades, drug positivity rates are climbing once again in the American workforce.
Inthe first year of the Drug Testing Index, the overall positivity rate for all drugs was Bythat rate had fallen to 4. While this is a major improvement, the workplace positivity rate has actually increased annually for the past five years and is now at its highest level since The positivity rate in urine tests for cocaine increased for the fourth consecutive year in the general U.
The report also found that marijuana positivity continued to increase. Marijuana positivity also increased in tests of urine 2.
Quest examined state-level data for marijuana, including states with recreational use statutes. In Colorado and Washington, the first states in which recreational marijuana was legalized, the positivity rate for marijuana outpaced the national average for the first time since the statutes took effect in Given this data, it seems reasonable to conclude that the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes will lead to increases in the rates of marijuana use in the workforce, which could affect more and more companies as the legalization movement spreads throughout the country.
While current policy discussions are largely focused on marijuana, employers must not lose sight of the other trends in workforce drug positivity. Drug use of any kind can have a major impact on workplace safety and productivity.
Employers need to be aware of the problem and take any necessary steps to protect their employees and their workplaces from the threat of drug use. More articles by Robert L.The threat of workplace drug use was well-known even before the tragedy. Six years prior to the Amtrak incident, the crash of an aircraft aboard the USS Nimitz spurred an investigation by the U.S.
military that found widespread use of drugs among U.S. Navy personnel. WCRI studies have long shown the widespread use of opioids in workers’ compensation. A recent WCRI study focused on the impact these drugs have on duration of disability.
The study showed temporary disability duration was % higher on claims receiving opioids on a long-term basis. Please note: The Department of Labor ended the drug-free workplace program in Accordingly, it does not currently administer a “Workplace drug testing” advisory web page and is not responsible for the content of the linked sites.
about workplace drug testing in general and testing for marijuana specifically. This report provides guidance for employers about drug testing employees and job applicants for marijuana use in the workplace in the context of the current legal environment.
Further, the ADA makes it clear that engaging in illegal drug use includes not only taking illegal drugs – like heroin and opium – but also taking prescription drugs without having a prescription, and taking prescription drugs in excess of or otherwise in violation of the prescription.
The workplace provides an excellent opportunity to curb drug use and influence of other psychotropic substances. Ways to Prevent Drug Abuse in the Workplace Employers can play a very integral role in helping to make treatment as successful as possible by promoting initiatives that .