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In the modern, Western world you can expect to take a pre employment drug test especially if you work for a government department, a Fortune 500 company or other corporate organizations. More and more drug testing has caught on as a way of screening prospective candidates, along with random drug testing of the existing staff.
With employee drug use costs hitting the $100 billion mark annually in lost time injury, absenteeism and accidents, it is pushing up the costs of workers compensation to employers. It is no wonder employers are drug testing job applicants as well as long-term employees.
A drug test is a technical analysis of urine, hair, a biological specimen, sweat, blood, or oral fluid / saliva – to determine the presence or absence of specified parent drugs or their metabolites.
However the most common form of testing in pre employment is using your urine though other tests are becoming more popular. Urine tests can identify the five major drugs employers are looking for, and provide reliable results. There is a criticism that most pre-employment drug tests are urine-based and subject to sample adulteration or substitution, the effectiveness of this approach can be questioned.
Research shows that in 1987 one national drug testing laboratory found that 19.1 percent of employees tested were positive. In the following 10 years that figure dropped to 5.4 percent in 1997. This does not necessarily mean drug taking has fallen. What it may mean is that people have gotten better at avoiding employers that require the tests.
While a prospective employee’s background check is the first part of screening job applicants, interviews, drug tests, and employment verification are all tools today’s global organizations use to protect themselves.Employers have a responsibility to all employees and pre employment drug test helps to protect their health and safety in the workplace. Drug abuse in the workplace is attributed to high staff turnover, lateness, accidents, workplace violence, and a decline in employee relations as well as customer service. Employers cannot afford to knowingly hire people who test positive for drugs.
The standard drug test employers use is the five-panel test for:
• Marijuana (THC)
• Opiates (morphine, codeine)
Some employers may also test alcohol levels and others may test the level of prescription drugs during the pre employment drug test to ensure you do not exceed the legal limit.
Drugs affect everyone differently and there may be little you can do if you only have a few days’ notice of your pre employment drug test. Casual drug users will only usually have trace elements of the drug in their system for a few days but heavy drug users of marijuana and PCP; for example, can have the drug stay in their system for anything up to two weeks, maybe longer. If you are a chronic user of prescription drugs, like Valium, it can take up to 30 days for all traces of the drug to clear your system.Trying to alter your urine sample is pointless these days as testing laboratories can detect anything you take to try and mask trace elements of any illicit drugs you may use.
If your pre employment drug test is positive after an independent review of your drug test, it is likely a medical officer will contact you to check there is no medical reason. If there is no medical reason for a positive result, you can pay to take the test again but it is usually of little value as all traces of the drugs are likely to have left your system. Drug testing laboratories keep your original sample and will stand by the results in a court of law. A positive drug test guarantees you will not get the job.
It is common practice for many employers to test their employees on an ongoing basis as a part of their conditions of employment, and health and safety policies. Failing a drug test has consequences but your employer is unlikely to call in the police, however you may have to participate in a rehabilitation program and seek counseling.
Most drug testing is done at a collection site where you give a urine sample that is sent out for laboratory analysis. Some employers choose to use test kits that give instant results similar to the home pregnancy test. Other forms of testing gaining popularity are testing your saliva or a strand of hair. If your results are negative then you should know within 24 hours.