Revisions to Drug Testing in the Workplace

Revisions to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using urine take effect on October 1st 2017. The revised drug testing guidelines provide agencies implementing Executive Order 12564 with the authority to add four Schedule II semi-synthetic opioids to the standard drug test panel. One in five American men have been driven out of the workforce due to the painkiller and opioid epidemic. Last month, President Trump called the opioid epidemic a “national emergency.” That being said, the National Safety Council surveyed 501 US employers with 50+ workers.

Workplace Drug Testing Research Shows:


  • 70% US Employers believe they have been impacted by prescription drug abuse.
  • 76% of companies are NOT offering training on how to identify signs of misuse.
  • 81% of those companies lack a comprehensive drug-free workplace policy.

Data collected from the National Safety Council’s workplace drug testing survey showed factors of:

  • Employee absenteeism
  • Substance use at work
  • Positive drug tests

Negative effects:

  • Decreased performance at work
  • Driving up company’s cost through worker’s comp & health insurance

Occupational Health Services - Reasonable Suspicion

Graph Source: National Safety Council, 2017

Ways to help your company & employees:

  • Recognize prescription drugs have a big impact on your workplace.
  • revamp your drug testing policies
  • expand drug testing panels to include opioids
  • train employers to spot signs of misuse
  • create an employee assistance program

Q & A Regarding Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing

Q: Is an employee addicted by prescription drugs protected by the ADA?

A: Possibly. If the employee is legally using the addiction would qualify as an ADA disability.

Q: Can you terminate an employee if you find out about their addiction?

A: Be cautious. Take an employment action based on performance issues.

Q: If an employee is under the influence at work, what should you do?

A: First, you should document the abnormal behavior. If necessary, you may provide a reasonable suspicion drug test and take action from there.

Q: What if the employee is in a “safety sensitive” position?

A: If the employee is operating machinery or something that can be a hazard to themselves others you may complete a random drug test under reasonable suspicion.


Contact Amerisafe's Occupational Health Services for more information on Reasonable Suspicion Programs, On-site Drug Testing Services