Drug Testing in Work Environments

Drug testing is a common practice for many employers. It’s used to ensure a safe, healthy and productive work environment.

Drug testing can be done on a pre-employment basis or during employment. Testing may also be required for employees returning to work after being on leave due to substance abuse treatment.

For the most part, drug tests are performed by urinalysis, although other types of tests are available and sometimes used. Pre-employment drug testing is usually conducted using urine samples, while post-accident and reasonable suspicion tests may use blood or saliva samples. Employers can also require random testing of employees without cause.

Employers are most likely to test for illicit drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, but opioid abuse has become such a problem that it’s now common for employers to screen for these drugs as well.

What Drugs Are Tested For?

While each employer sets its own policies on what drugs are tested for, most companies conduct pre-employment drug testing that includes alcohol and illegal substances such as marijuana (cannabis), heroin (morphine), cocaine or methamphetamine (meth). Some employers add prescription medications such as painkillers (opioids) or sedatives into this category as well. In addition, some companies test for nicotine cigarettes and nicotine-replacement products such as gum or patches. They also may test for cocaine, amphetamines, PCP and other drugs.

What Are the Risks of Drug Testing?

Although it’s important for employers to maintain a safe workplace, drug testing can pose some problems for an employee who tests positive for marijuana. In states where recreational use is legal, this can mean that someone is fired even though he or she is not on company time or working in any capacity. But, not all companies are the same. For example, if you are wondering does Tesla drug test for marijuana, you’ll see that they do not. The company does not have a policy that prohibits marijuana use, and many companies are following suit.

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