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What You Need to Know about Pre-employment Drug Tests

by | Dec 23, 2023 | Uncategorized

Employers must constantly work towards improving workplace safety. Several preventative services exist that an employer can utilize in this quest. One of them is a pre-employment drug test. Investing in this service can significantly reduce the costs associated with direct medical costs, absenteeism, lost productivity and increased health care costs. Read on as we delve into the finer details of pre-employment drug tests.

What is a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

An employer may require a prospective hire to do a pre-employment drug test to determine if they use illicit substances. The test also checks for abuse of prescription medicine.

It may also apply to employees returning to work after a long absence due to injury or other reasons. In such cases, the test is a pre-placement drug test. An employer may only offer a job if the hire in question passes the drug screens.

In most cases, pre-employment drug tests check the applicants’ use of:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Amphetamines, including methamphetamine
  • Cocaine

The testing process may entail three phases, namely:

  1. Collection of samples and initial testing to determine the absence or absence of drugs
  2. Confirmation screening if the first test returned a positive outcome. It also calls for a review by a medical review officer.
  3. Results availed to the applicant and employer for the selected drugs

Importance of Pre-Employment Drug Tests

Conducting pre-employment drug tests is a recommendable approach to mitigating the risks associated with drug misuse. When an employer indicates that a job offer is dependent on the drug test results in a job application, they can discourage substance abusers from applying.

For sensitive work environments like the department of transportation, these tests are crucial. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance abuse:

  • Reduces productivity by approximately 33%
  • Increases the probability of a worker missing eight or more workdays yearly by 2.5 times
  • Impairs judgment, increasing accident risks by 3.5 times
  • Accounts for 50% of the workers’ compensation claims
  • Represents as much as a five-fold increase in workplace injury claims

Pre-employment drug tests go a long way in reducing these incidents.

Drug Testing Specimen Types

In various workplaces in the US, employers conduct a drug test for employment using the following specimen:

Urine Drug Testing

Urine tests are the most common in the US in determining an applicant’s drug use. It’s a federally approved method used by both regulated and non-regulated employers.

Hair Drug Testing

Hair tests have a long detection span and can date back to drug use three months before the test. However, the tests only detect past drug use and don’t return results for alcohol.

Blood Drug Testing

Blood screens are standard for illegal drug or alcohol use. A qualified phlebotomist draws a blood sample and sends it to a lab for testing. The results reveal the drug or alcohol levels at the time of sample collection. Most employers don’t use this method because it’s very invasive.

Saliva Drug Testing

Some employers use saliva samples because it’s easy to observe the employee during the collection process. It’s also tricky to adulterate the samples. The results come out within a few hours or up to three days.

Breath Alcohol Tests

These come in handy when an employer suspects an employee to be alcohol-impaired on the job. The employer uses a breathalyzer machine to determine the alcohol concentration in the blood at the test time.

Why Employers Should Require Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Workplace health and safety should always be one of the most important priorities for any company. It means that if you conduct a pre-employment drug test for potential new hires, you can reduce the workplace problems associated with substance abuse. When you indicate immediately on a job application that any offer for employment is conditional and based on results of required drug testing, you have less chance of even receiving applications from substance abusers. 

Many problems arise from drug use, whether recreational use or severe substance abuse problems, that will affect your workplace. The overall productivity of impaired individuals is lower than those who aren’t, and they are more likely to miss work. It causes a burden to other employees, can create a hostile work environment, and, simply put, hurts your bottom line. 

Furthermore, it is your responsibility to keep your employees safe, no matter what type of work environment they are in, but when the work environment requires attention and caution to critical safety protocols, drug and alcohol use can be detrimental. You can reduce accidents, injuries, and workers’ compensation claims that potentially involve drug or alcohol use by requiring drug testing before employment. 


The Legality of Employee Drug Testing 

The legal implications of drug testing are ever-evolving, and laws from one state to another. Employers should always consult with their legal department or legal representative when they have questions or concerns about the legality of their testing program and how their program complies with their state’s laws and regulations. However, there are best practices and general guidelines that you should follow: 

  • When pre-employment drug tests are used as part of the company’s new hire screening process, they should always be disclosed upfront. 
  • All individuals applying for the same position should take the same type of drug test.
  • All drug tests should be conducted at a state-certified lab. 

Workplace drug testing is considered an occupational health service. When you use ARCpoint Labs of Martinez, your potential hires will be serviced by trained and qualified technicians. We administer drug tests for employment based on best practices as well as state and federal testing regulations. Our experts are also prepared to help you examine your company’s policies against regulations to assure you that you are in compliance or help you get in compliance with any recent regulatory changes. We can help you create a drug screening policy customized to your specific workplace. contact us

In addition to helping your company develop a pre-employment drug screening policy and administering pre-employment drug and alcohol screening, we also administer random testing to complement your hiring process and encourage continued compliance with your drug-free policy. 

Another valuable service that is often overlooked is corporate training regarding handling drug use in the workplace. If your supervisors and managers need guidance on implementing a drug-free workplace policy, recognizing signs and behaviors of drug or alcohol impairment, or how to handle interactions with potentially impaired employees, our training can cover all of this and more.

Pre-Employment Drug Testing in Martinez, CA

A pre-employment drug test policy is necessary for helping you find qualified employees, creating a safe work environment, and maintaining workplace productivity. It doesn’t matter if you are a small, local business or a global company; partnering with ARCpoint Labs of Martinez to collaborate on your workplace drug testing policies, training your staff, and administering drug tests for employment is a wise choice. As a leader in providing comprehensive, customized screening services for employers, you will find all the services you need and more. Contact us today for questions about pre-employment drug tests, DOT testing solutionsbackground checks, or our other accurate, reliable, and confidential services.

Image Source: sima / Shutterstock

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