Stats are alarming, but HR can help by following tips for testing.
Positive workforce drug tests hit a 14-year high last year. According to Quest Diagnostics, a national diagnostic information service company, marijuana is the most commonly detected illicit substance across workforce categories (general U.S. workforce, federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce, and combined U.S. workforce) and in all specimen types (urine, oral fluid, and hair). Positivity for post-accident urine testing went up more than 51% between 2017 and 2018 and increased nearly 81% between 2014 and 2018. This increase was likely driven by the addition of prescription opiates to the panel addressed in testing.
In a bit of good news, positivity for opiates (mostly codeine and morphine) in urine drug testing went down 21% between 2017 and 2018. Positivity for semi-synthetic opiates (hydrocodone and/or hydromorphone) declined 2%, and positive oxycodone tests went down more than 29%. Positivity rates for both heroin and cocaine declined as well in general and federally mandated safety-sensitive U.S. workforce testing.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that about two-thirds of all drug users are employed in some capacity, so HR professional need to understand how to ensure safe, legal, and appropriate workplace drug testing protocols. Quest offers some tips:
· Know the risks. Drug test positivity, while it has declined for some substances in certain employee categories, is still a concern. According to national test results, use of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine are still alarmingly high.
· Understand when and who to drug test. Make sure that candidates and/or new hires understand the company’s policies regarding drug testing.
· Match testing to your needs. If you’re not sure which test types are the best match for your workplace, a simple drug testing needs assessment may help.
· Screen for commonly-detected drugs, and determine the window of detection for each.
· Train your leaders regarding policies related to drug testing, and regularly review these documents to ensure they are current and that they comply with all federal and state laws.
· Be transparent. Make sure you apply policies consistently across the organization.
If you have questions or need help, organizations such as the Society for Human Resources Management and The Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace have tools, resources, and training materials about drug and alcohol testing and trends.