There are many occupations that require that an employee is sober at all times. For example, it should go without saying that members of the military or law enforcement should stay alert and sober at all times to enable them to deal with threats when they arrive. For this reason, to ensure that employees in these occupations are up to the required standard at all times, a regular drug and alcohol test is carried out in these professions.
Also, some other jobs require an alcohol or drug test as part of a pre-employment hiring process before they can hire you to work for them. Before such tests are carried out, consent is required from the individual, and this is done using the drug/alcohol testing consent form.
In this article, we will go through what drug and alcohol testing is, the different kinds of testing, and some free drug and alcohol testing consent form templates to give your employees.
A drug test can be done using the hair, urine, and blood to check for a number of drugs in the system. Since a drug test can be done to discover a wide array of drugs, it is advised that drug tests are done to check for the presence of five major drugs in the system. Most drugs that exhibit reliance are neural stimulants that may have been given as prescription drugs.
These drugs are:
- Amphetamine, also known as speed, crank, ecstasy, or meth
- Cocaine, also known as crack or coke
- Opiates also examples are heroin, morphine, opium, and codeine
- THC such as marijuana, hash, and cannabinoids
- Phencyclidine, also known as angel dust
Alcohol tests can be done by testing the blood to see the level of alcohol in the system. Also, a breathalyzer can be used to check the breath of a person for the amount of alcohol in the system. Alcohol tests usually reveal the amount of alcohol currently in the system and not past alcohol use, unlike the drug test. However, they can be done randomly to help keep employees on their toes.
What Is a Drug and Alcohol Consent Form?
A drug and alcohol consent form is a document that gives an employer the consent to test an employee for alcohol or drugs in their system. This document must be signed by the employee before the employer can carry out a drug and alcohol test, but if an employee refuses to give consent, it could lead to the termination of the employee’s job.
The same is applicable to a potential employee. If they refuse to give consent, the prospective employer can, by law, reject their application.
While there may be restrictions placed on the form by state laws (depending on the state), the consent form is usually jurisdiction neutral, meaning it can be used anywhere. It is crafted to show the amount of confidentiality the employee is allowed to receive, as well as legal protection of the employer in case of issues arising due to the employee being under the influence.
Common Situations Where Drug Testing Is Done
Depending on the job, drug testing can be required randomly or regularly. Also, pre-employment drug and alcohol testing can be required.
Here are some of the situations in which drug testing can be done:
Some professions like those in healthcare are required to stay sober at all times, and the employer can carry out random testing on some workers when there is suspicion of substance abuse by those workers. While the employee might be clean prior to working with you, you must ensure that they didn’t just get lucky.
A good way to do this is by conducting random drug tests from time to time. This not only helps to deter a drug or alcohol abuser, but it also brings about maximum productivity and employee health.
Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Testing
Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing may be required by some prospective employers from their potential employees before they can be hired. Refusal to give consent could lead to a potential employee losing the job opportunity.
You must ensure that the employee you’re looking to bring into your team has their head in the game and will be beneficial to your organization. Alcoholism and drug dependence decrease focus and a person’s inability to reason. Therefore a pre-employment test is very necessary as part of employment requirements.
This test, however, must go alongside random tests after employment to ensure that the employee isn’t an addict that got lucky the first time.
Regular Physical Tests
These tests are usually done annually or quarterly, depending on the company. These physical examinations usually involve a drug and alcohol test to confirm that employees are complying with the set rules prohibiting substance abuse.
These tests are common in industries when heavy machinery is used. A lot of accidents in these industries are caused by substance misuse, so many employers ensure they check their workers after an accident to verify that the accident was not caused by the effects of substance abuse.
Many workers get addicted to drugs after going through a severe treatment process, so employers use this kind of testing to encourage the worker to stay away from drugs.
Common Types of Drug Testing
These tests are valuable for checking for drugs and active components of alcohol in various body fluids, and you can classify these as follows:
- Blood test: This measures the quantity of active metabolites of alcohol or drugs in the systemic circulation. This test is accurate and confirmatory for drug or alcohol abuse.
- Urinalysis: The kidneys are organs that metabolize drugs, and residues are present in urine, and so a urinalysis gives an accurate result.
- Mouth swab: Particles and molecules of drugs or alcohol remain in the saliva long after their use, and so this is also a suitable test for any of these illegal substances.
- Breath alcohol tests using a breathalyzer or any other equipment will also give the desired result.
Alcohol testing is a common practice in many companies as employees are not allowed to drink booze during work hours. In the transportation industry, regular alcohol tests are carried out.
How Often Can Testing be Done
An employer can do testing on their employees at a set date, which should be known by the employees or on suspicion. If an employer has reason to believe that an employee is using drugs, they have legal grounds to test the employee.
It is easier to detect a drug problem when tests are random, and the employer does not inform the employees about an upcoming drug test. However, setting particular dates for drug testing can also be of benefits and may reveal residues of drugs or alcohol in the body fluids. There is no strict rule for the duration between drug tests for employees, but because this is a capital-intensive business/ organization strategy, you could use your discretion to avoid wastage.
Drug/Alcohol Screening and the Law
There are certain laws that you need to abide by, in the process of drug or alcohol screening of your employees. Although these laws vary State-by-State, there are a few basic laws pertinent to two of the major types of drug or alcohol screening tests that you need to consider.
They are as follows:
An applicant can be subject to a drug test if:
- They are aware of the drug test and have given their consent
- They have been awarded a job that depends on their passing a drug test
- They will be tested like other applicants for the job to prevent discrimination
- The test will be carried out in a state-certified laboratory
- A certified laboratory conducts the test
- It is part of the legal employment requirements in your state
- This test is needed to improve the company’s reliability and gain the clients’ trust
- It is part of the establishment’s rules
Many states don’t allow the use of random testing except when there is probable cause to believe that an employee is under the influence. For states that allow the use of random testing, there are guidelines that prevent employers from setting dates without prior warning and also from carrying out random blanket tests on everybody.
If you need to create a consent form for your employees to use for alcohol and drug testing, you can download some free templates for free here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A doctor should not be able to do a drug test on a patient except the patient is underaged (where the parents can order the drug test done) or incapacitated (and a drug test is urgent for treatment).
The same rules apply to all medical practitioners, except a state child welfare agency demands a pregnant woman gets tested for the sake of the baby.
This depends. In special cases when the court rules in favor of the school, a drug test can be carried out.
Although employers would have loved to have blanket random drug tests that will eradicate the possibility of constant drug abuse in companies, it is unconstitutional to do so. Also, if a drug test comes out positive, most times, an employer is mandated to conduct the test again to see if it is a false positive.In all, remember to get consent from your employees before you carry out drug or alcohol tests. It will save you from unnecessary legal battles in the future.