Drug Testing

Addressing Pain Management & Opioid Use/Abuse

Internal Policies: Drug Testing

Many companies test newly hired employees prior to their start date, and use random drug testing for cause after worksite accidents or other incidents. Local, state and federal laws allow private employers to implement workplace policies regarding drug testing and offer assistance to employers as they implement policies for a drug-free work environment.34

Consider these recommendations for drug testing:1

  • Include actions for both the manager and the employee in your policies
  • Ensure there is a policy for prescribers staffing on-site clinics to conduct baseline testing for illicit drug use, use of non-prescribed opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants before considering patients for chronic opioid therapy
  • Require drug testing (urine, blood, saliva or hair) in a standard consistent process for the following situations:
    • The organization has a reasonable suspicion that an employee is impaired or is taking a controlled substance
    • An employee has been involved in an accident on the job
    • An employee who has a prescription for a schedule II or III narcotic to ensure the employee tests positive for opioids (and is not diverting the medication)
    • An employee returns to work without an opioid prescription to ensure the employee tests negative for opioids
    • Randomly for employees reporting to work
    • Employee returns to work from a disability absence or workers’ compensation absence
  • Emphasize privacy protection and confidentiality for employee information about opioid use and testing
  • Identify a process to intervene when abuse is detected to ensure all employees who test positive are handled in a consistent manner
  • Discipline employees (include potential termination) for a positive drug test if they do not have a prescription from their health care professional
  • Ensure testing includes all prescription opioids (including synthetic oxycodone and methadone that do not show up on standard panels) in addition to illicit opioids

Review these resources for more information: