According to a provider of diagnostic drug information services, the percentage of positive drug tests among American workers is increasing. Employee drug use of marijuana and amphetamines, in particular, is to blame. Although it comes as no surprise that workers in Colorado and Washington are testing positive for marijuana use, what is of concern is that employees all over the country are testing positive for amphetamines, and methamphetamines in particular.
Methamphetamine positive rates have been increasing upwards of 50% in the most recent year of the study (2013). And amphetamine positive rates are at their highest levels ever. Specific details about the Quest Diagnostics report can be found here.
Commenting on the Quest Diagnostics report, the labor and employment law firm of Fisher & Phillips LLP generally recommends that, when an employer suspects the use of unlawful drugs at work, it should directly drug test that specific individual on the basis of reasonable cause.
By contrast, the Americans with Disabilities Act may cover prescription drug use. (For example, amphetamines can be found in some prescription medications for ADHD.) In this scenario, the law firm recommends “a legitimate record of their performance failings” which will provide the employer with “more flexibility” when it comes time to discipline the drug-using employee. More information about addressing drug use in the workplace can be found on the blog posted by Fisher & Phillips.
With this undisputed increase in amphetamine and methamphetamine drug use among employees in the workplace, it behooves every employer to implement a drug screening program in order to address proactively threats to workplace safety and to the safety of the employer’s customers and the general public.