As business owners, most of us look at our drug testing policies as an afterthought, something to check off of the endless to-do list. Often the policy just ends up in the drawer. 

If your workforce includes employees regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, then you probably understand federal drug testing requirements. But most of the drug testing industry consists of non-DOT testing. Even non-DOT drug testing is based on regulated testing rules and processes. After all, the DOT regulates many of the most dangerous areas of the country – our roads and highways …we’d think they have the most expansive policies-we’d be wrong.

DOT testing sees some changes, from time to time — most recently the addition of four synthetic opioids to the test panel in 2018. But some commonly abused drugs and effective testing methods are only available outside the DOT testing protocol. Private business owners, however, have a few more options at their disposal.

According to Forbes, the U.S. Opioid Task Force has reported that we are at an emergency level, stating, “With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.” Many prescription drugs are overlooked in standard pre-employment, random and post- accident employee drug testing.

It may not be your job or even your goal to police what employees do during their off hours. Still, you leave yourself and your company open to all of the complications that surround habitual drug use when you ignore the climate of our labor market.

Expanding your policy beyond typical 5-panel tests to account for current and regional drug usage trends gives you a considerable head start in preventing a dangerous work environment. Overhead accrued from both overt drug use and functional addicts costs business billions of dollars each year, incorporating effective testing into the day-to-day function of your business pays for itself a dozen times over in both dollars and peace of mind.

We know that testing seems a bit complicated when you are making your policy decisions, and we are here to help in any way that we can. Our goal is to create healthier, more productive workforces through careful screening and education. Please feel free to contact us and discuss your options with one of our experts.