Keeping your workplace drug free and safe is an ever constant concern, but in these times, illegal substances and alcohol are no longer the only intoxicants that can affect your workplace environment. There is a growing trend in prescription drug abuse which is poking its head into the corporate world. It’s estimated that every day, there is around 5,500 new non-medical users who abuse prescription drugs and this number can only be expected to grow. Statistics on prescription drug abuse rank the trend as becoming a future epidemic. This major shift of drug abuse in America is something employers must take into consideration in their drug free work environments.
Prescription drugs, when taken under medical supervision and as prescribed, are likely to be harmless. However, because of the addictive qualities of some prescription drugs, they can still pose a danger when taken as prescribed, simply because of the physical dependence that they can cause.
Prescription drug abuse in the workplace presents a unique challenge in that some states do not allow for employees to be while others require a medical review officer (MRO) to review results and establish proof of prescription in the case that an employee tests positive. Prescription drug abuse in the workplace is a very real situation, with very real consequences if not addressed. Employers must take care to evaluate whether or not their workforce would benefit from testing for prescription drugs, and then they must determine the laws of their state to establish if they can legally screen employees for prescription drugs.
The Department of Labor has additional information on drug testing employees that can help determine whether your company should start a drug testing program.