The Covid-19 epidemic is resulting in more people abusing alcohol and utilizing illegal substances. According to the most recent Federal government figures from 2020, 59.3 million Americans, or 21.4 percent, of those aged 12 and older had taken illegal substances in the previous year. A more significant increase is anticipated for 2021 due to the pandemic. According to a trend study released by Quest Diagnostics in October 2020, misuse of fentanyl, heroin, and non-prescribed opioids is rising. This could be because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected access to healthcare and support for those most at risk for substance use disorders.
There are no federal laws in force right now that require drug testing at work in the private sector. Employers who are subject to DOT regulation must conduct drug and alcohol tests. Additionally, the Drug-Free Workplace Act does impose limitations on federal grant recipients and contractors. Most states have established rules on drug testing that occasionally contradict federal requirements, which furthers the uncertainty. To stay up, preserve compliance, and safeguard their employees, customers, and business, employers who undertake workplace drug testing will need to adapt as Americans' opposition to the legalization of marijuana and other narcotics weakens. This entails bringing policies up to date, training managers, and offering tools and training to staff members.
How Do Drug Tests Work?
A urine (pee), blood, saliva (spit), hair, or sweat sample is used in a drug test to check for traces of one or more prescribed or illicit medications. A drug test's goal is to detect drug usage and abuse, which includes:
- Using any illicit substances, such as cocaine or club drugs
- Misusing prescription drugs is taking them in a way or for a purpose other than what your doctor recommended. Examples of drug abuse include taking someone else's prescription or utilizing a prescription painkiller to relax.
A drug test can determine if your body contains one substance or a variety of drugs. Drug testing frequently looks for:
- Methamphetamine is one kind of amphetamine.
- Secobarbital and phenobarbital, among other barbiturates
- Benzodiazepines, including clonazepam and alprazolam
- Marijuana (THC) (THC)
- Heroin, codeine, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl are examples of opiates and opioids.
- Phencyclidine (PCP) (PCP)
How Does A Drug Test Work?
Numerous places may conduct drug tests, including laboratories, hospitals, drug treatment facilities, and companies. You must provide a urine sample for the majority of drug testing. To collect your sample, follow the instructions sent to you. In some circumstances, it could be necessary for a medical expert or another individual to be present when you offer your sample. This is done to ensure that the urine is yours and is free of any contaminants that can skew the test findings. A small needle will be used to collect blood from a vein in your arm so that it may be examined for drugs by a medical professional. A tiny amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial once the needle has been placed. The needle may hurt somewhat when it enters or exits your body. Usually, this only needs a few minutes.
Legislation On Drug Testing In 2022
Testing for Drugs and Marijuana
Through S 00854, which legalized cannabis for recreational use in New York, the Department of Labor (DOL) clarified its policies for employers. According to DOL rules on drug testing: It is no longer acceptable for a company to have a drug-free workplace policy that forbids marijuana usage (unless an exemption applies), and the employer must update or alter their policy immediately. In addition, because marijuana is legal under federal law and not outlawed, employers cannot test for it. Only those working in the state of New York should follow this advice. In the state, it applies to both public and private enterprises.
Because of this, New York companies are generally prohibited from testing potential hires or current workers for marijuana use. Exceptions consist of:
- If marijuana drug testing is mandated by federal or state law or is a condition of employment for a specific occupation. The DOL cites the following as examples:
- Mandatory drug testing following 49 CFR Part 382 [or any other federal government-mandated drug testing] for drivers of commercial motor vehicles [and candidates for such a position],
- Section 507-a of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, which complies with 49 CFR 382 and mandates obligatory drug testing for motor carriers using for-hire vehicles
- When an employee's activities might result in the company breaking the law, losing a government contract, or losing federal funds
Changes the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Families' rules for drug testing of applicants and employees (DSCYF).
District of Columbia
Enables seniors 65 years of age and over to self-certify that they are using cannabis for medicinal reasons by amending the medical marijuana statute to extend the expiration date of medical marijuana registration cards.
Legalizes medicinal cannabis. Defines "under the influence of cannabis" and "safety-sensitive work."
- Does not obligate any employer to approve, permit, or enable the use of medicinal cannabis for any purpose or to alter any employee's job duties or working circumstances as a result.
- Does not forbid any employer from refusing to hire, fire, or punish a person due to that person's medicinal cannabis use, regardless of the person's impairment or lack of impairment, concerning hiring, firing, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
- Does not require a self-insured group or a workers' compensation insurer to cover or reimburse any other person or organization for expenses related to the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
- Does not impair a company's ability to refuse or make legal arguments against paying workers' compensation to a worker who tests positive for drugs.
Law on Recreational Marijuana
- Similar to marijuana discrimination legislation, but without a distinct statute.
- No employer may reject a candidate for employment, let someone go, discipline them, or even threaten them for using medicinal marijuana.
- The use of marijuana while at work is prohibited, and employers have the right to reprimand an employee who is found to be high.
- Nothing prevents an employer from taking the proper unfavorable or other employment action if they observe an employee exhibiting particular, observable signs of drug impairment while on duty or working, which weakens or reduces the employee's job position.
- Not enacted as specific legislation but comparable to marijuana discrimination laws.
- Recreational marijuana will be subject to the same regulations as legal alcohol.
- Because a person uses or doesn't use cannabis, an employer cannot refuse to hire or employ that person, fire that person, or treat them differently regarding paying terms, conditions, or other employment perks.
Laws Concerning Other Drugs
- Possession of psilocybin is now a disorderly person's violation in New Jersey.
- Hawaii requests that the Department of Health establish a working committee to look into the therapeutic and medical effects of psilocybin and psilocin.
- The possession of particular weights and quantities of narcotics is eliminated from Maine's definition of drug trafficking.
- Simple possession of 10g or less of a Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V controlled drug in Rhode Island is now a 2-year misdemeanor rather than a felony.
Involvement of Drug Testing Laws in 2022
Similar to prior years, cannabis-related legislation will likely dominate the introduction and passage of measures in 2022. There will likely be additional bills that:
- Legalizing Cannabis For Either Medicinal Or Recreational Use,
- Increase The Rights Of Marijuana Users And Expressly Restrict Or Outlaw Any Acts Taken By Employers That Might Be Seen As Discriminatory Towards Marijuana Users, Including Firing Someone Because Of A Positive Marijuana Test Without A Clear Link To Work-related Impairment,
- It Should Be Made Clear That Marijuana Laws Do Permit Employers To Forbid Workers From Using Marijuana While At Work Or While Under The Influence, As Well As To Place Further
- Limits On Marijuana Testing Before And After Hiring, Similar To Those In New York.
- Employers should keep a close eye on the legislation since any changes in a state where they do business will probably need a thorough assessment of your organization's drug testing program.
- More states now permit the recreational use of marijuana. Choose a state from the list of previously authorized medicinal marijuana.
- By restricting what employers can do with a positive test result, more states that have previously legalized recreational marijuana will amend their laws to prevent occupational marijuana drug testing. Consider Illinois as a model for what other states will eventually do.
It will be crucial to ensure that your drug testing policy, methods, and training are updated and adhere to best practices heading into 2022, given all the changes and potential changes to legislation and rules about drug testing. Additionally, people who use and misuse drugs are less likely to apply when employers have a drug testing policy since they know there will be a test. This implies that businesses without a drug testing program have a higher chance of hiring candidates who may use drugs, putting them at a higher risk of liability and productivity and safety issues. It will be significantly less expensive to implement a drug testing program before issues develop; thus, the time to do so is now. In certain states, extra incentives exist, including lower insurance premiums and worker's compensation savings. In addition to helping with pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident testing, National Drug Screening (NDS) can also help with workplace policies, policy reviews, DOT compliance, supervisor and DER (Designated Employee Representative) training, as well as setting up pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident testing.