Drug Testing at Job – Why, How and When?

Does Every Job Drug Test

You’ve been looking for jobs in your field. Through brochures, on the internet, through social media, and even newspapers, Gaining information by word of mouth. If you’ve experienced this search multiple times, and even if you’re new, there’s one thing you definitely must have come across. Drug tests. Pre-employment drug tests, random drug tests, periodic drug tests, and all other kinds of drug tests are the names you must be familiar with now. The question to wonder is if all kinds of jobs requires drug testing? Will it really be one of your concerns while applying for your job?

Read on to get your dose of the much-needed clarity on this highly misunderstood step of hiring. 

For Starters – What is Drug Testing?

Employment or workplace drug testing is a procedure to determine whether the employees have been under the influence of drugs. It does not check for any impact on the behavior. It only identifies any recent use of any drug – illicit or prescribed. According to clearly written policies, all drug tests are shared and consented to by the employees beforehand.  

Should YOU be worried?

Contrary to popular opinion, drug tests are not mandatory and are not as common for everyone to be concerned about. Yes, the myth has been busted here. Across the US, there are only less than 2% of the jobs in each city that require a Pre-employment drug test. With such a figure in place, many people are not very likely to end up with a job requiring a drug test. If you want to be sure, here’s the next statistics for you. Most of the government and health care services jobs are the ones that require a drug test as their selection process. Compare it with 5 administrative and 7 customer service job positions mandating a drug test to approve their candidates. 

These statistics make it pretty clear how hyped drug tests are, wherein in reality. There are not many people who need to worry about them. Even regular drug testing has been more of a buzz than a reality. In fact, the statistics for the industries conducting regular workplace drug tests are even more shocking. It is thus apparent that not every job does a drug test on the employees. But what if you’re one of those chosen few? Are you in the healthcare service? A government job? Or any other odd job that somehow requires you to have a drug test? Do not worry. This article will continue to be relevant for you. Others looking for jobs or are just curious about drug tests can read on to know more about how different workplaces conduct drug tests. 

13 Reasons Why?

Knowing that drug tests are not that prevalent anymore and that most jobs do not require it, you must be wondering why your job does? Why is it that employers conduct drug tests – not only pre-employment but even during the work period? Here I list 13 reasons why workplace drug testing is a practice. 

  1. The most obvious reason – to check if employees are under the influence of any substance.
  2. Some jobs necessitate sobriety for the safety of others, such as health care services. These jobs need to ensure that their employees are not under any influence for the safety of the public. 
  3. To provide a safe working environment for all. This one relates more to the ambiance and the environment of a workplace. Nobody would like to work at a place where they might be threatened by others under the influence of drugs.
  4. To comply with State laws. To become a successful company, it is necessary that you do not end up breaking any regulations for something that can safely be prevented.
  5. To prevent the employees from abusing any kind of substance and not only harming themselves but even the company’s productivity. 
  6. To help with early rehabilitation and the better life of the employee. If an employee does end up abusing drugs, drug tests would be able to identify the problem and the companies might be better able to prevent major damage and rehabilitate the employee. 
  7. To entrust the customers in their company. Even if the company complies with the State laws and has a safe working environment, it won’t be successful unless the customers trust them. Conducting drug tests and taking effective measures against the violators is a step to establish the trust of the company in the market. 
  8. Reducing the turnover rates. When the employees feel safe and assured about the detection of any kind of mishap, the chances of switching the job reduce drastically. It builds the productivity as well as the reputation of the company.
  9. Promotes recovery from abuse. A failed drug test and the need for a job might become the necessary motivation for someone to seek treatment and make a better life for themselves. 
  10. To prevent any accident or mishap at the workplace as a result of the influence of any drug. A part of ensuring a safe workplace is also taking preventive measures for any possible mishap. Regular drug tests rule out the possibilities of any drug-induced harm.
  11. To identify the suspects in case of a suspicion of an accident or a mishap as a result of substance abuse. Regular drug tests not only prevent accidents they can also rule out the employees in case of suspected harm under the influence. 
  12. To provide compensation to employees in case of workplace injuries. There is a need to rule out the possibility of an injury due to the influence of drugs for the employer to grant compensation to the employee.
  13. As part of the larger campaign against substance abuse. Many companies may be a part of campaigns against drug use and pre-employment as well as regular drug tests are a way to support the campaign. 

What to Brace Yourself For?

Now that the reasons why employers conduct drug tests are clear, the next step to clarity is what to prepare yourself for? How are these tests conducted? Will you have to be injected with something? Will there be some spit analysis? Here are how different job services and companies conduct their drug tests to answer such questions.

  • Urine Analysis – A urine test is conducted at some places to confirm the presence or absence of a drug in a person’s urine. However, the results of this test need to be interpreted with caution. A positive result on this test does not mean the presence of drugs when the test was conducted. Instead, it tells that the person has been under the influence within the last few days. 
  • Breath Test – This test is one of the most common tests to determine the level of alcohol in the person’s bloodstream at the moment the test is conducted. A result of 0.04 or higher is a positive result for a drug test. 
  • Blood Samples – A blood sample measures the number of drugs in the person’s body at the time of the collection of the sample. It gives an accurate measure for the active drug. 
  • Hair Analysis – Using a person’s hair to conduct a drug test provides a much more detailed report about the person’s use of drugs. One of the advantages of hair analysis is that it gives analysis for the past 90 days for a specific drug.
  • Saliva – Oral fluids like a person’s saliva can give accurate information regarding the specific drug consumed while the sample is drawn. These are also harder to adulterate and can be trusted. 

What, Why, and How – Check. But When?

One of the most asked questions about drug tests apart from the ones already discussed is when the drug tests conducted are? If you are looking for a new job, you must be wondering if you’ll have to appear for a drug test to get selected. With the prevalence of pre-employment drug tests, most likely not. But there might be other times you might have to face a drug test. Employers are most likely to conduct drug tests at different times – 

  • Pre Employment Drug Tests – This is one of the most known forms of drug test. These tests are used by employers to prevent the hiring of an employee under the influence of drugs. Candidates have to consent to and get a negative test result to get selected for the job position. For some industries, a negative drug test result is a necessary condition for the safety of their clients, as well as their colleagues. 
  • Suspicion/For Cause Drug Tests – These drug tests are conducted by employers when they have sufficient cause to suspect an employee of substance abuse. Suspicion could be based on observable signs or any workplace behavior violation. 
  • Random Drug Tests – Random drug tests are unpredictable and are conducted on people by selecting their social security number from a pool of the numbers of all employees. It is ensured that every employee has an equal chance of getting selected. 
  • Periodic Drug Tests – These are informed about beforehand and are usually conducted annually. Such tests are conducted for jobs where there is a compulsory physical examination required for the employees to continue with their job. 
  • Return-to-Duty Drug Tests – A test like this takes place when a person who had a positive result on a test once has taken the required treatment and is back to work. This is one-time testing and is known to the employees. They are also conducted when a person has been off-duty for a long period of time. 

Summing It Up 

If the article was too long for you and you didn’t read it, this summary is for you. In short, not all jobs conduct drug tests of their employees. In fact, at present, most jobs don’t require a pre-employment drug test. However, some still do, and others might conduct them later at random intervals or one-time cases. Employees might expect their drug tests to be taken in several ways – urine, blood, hair, breath, or even saliva. However, these drug tests are usually conducted to better all employees, and there is no reason for you to worry if you’re someone looking for a job. 

Also read Does Walmart drug test their employees?

Drug Testing at Job – Why, How and When?

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