employers drug testing for prescription drugs

Can Employers Legally Test for Prescription Drugs?

Finding a job nowadays can be such pain in the neck. But it is something that is necessary in order to survive. Half of the world’s population push through each day, soldiering on through routine tasks and daily struggles just to make it to their jobs. However, half of the world do not even have one. There are numerous reasons why a person cannot find a job. Some of these reasons are; meager job opportunities in third-world countries because of economic factors, personal credentials are deemed not suitable for the company’s standards, or these job applicants have a history of health-related issues. These are just a few reasons. The list goes on.

In the age of technology nowadays, companies have become more cautious in who they hire. Some companies have become more intrusive, asking for personal details and history including social media accounts and posts. Some applicants in recent years lose certain job opportunities on grounds of distasteful comments and posts. Some are not hired because of physical and mental discrimination. And some people are not hired because of their health history, specifically if they have had some history with substance abuse and rehabilitation. It is a painful truth that is happening currently.

Another sad truth is that in some states and countries, this is legal. To be fair, employers are just being good businessmen and is looking out for the welfare of the company. If a company refuse to hire someone with a substance abuse history, it is their right to do so. However, they also have the prerogative to request for drug testing. This depends on the laws or statutes of the state though. For an example, Florida drug testing and Texas drug testing laws might vary but they have a lot more in common than they have differences. These laws include employment specifications and so forth. Companies have to abide by these laws or else they will suffer the consequences.

For example, a specific case of a drug test request. There are a few reasons why companies ask applicants or employees for drug testing. One valid reason is if there is a history of abuse. Another one is if a person currently employed by the company shows weird behavior that may be associated with the intake of illegal substances. In general, drugs refer to alcohol, amphetamines, cannabinoids, prescription drugs, designer drugs, among others. These drugs are commonly abused by millions of people worldwide. Some of these drugs are distributed illegally all over the world. Prescription drugs are a bit different. They are easily accessible as long as it is prescribed by a licensed physician.

So, can employees legally test for prescription drugs? Technically, yes. But there are several factors to be considered which make it a little bit more complicated than the normal drug testing process. Most states allow employers or companies to demand or request drug testing from their employees or future applicants. One of these states is Texas, U.S.A. Most companies nowadays are not taking any chances; especially because there have been occurrences that prescription drugs can be abused and even taken in the workplace. In fact, details show that there has been a considerable increase in the number of employees that has been reliant on prescription drugs. According to Quest Diagnostics, the number jumped almost 40 percent from 2005 to 2009. Those who become addicted risk losing their jobs because of causing trouble in the company. Troubles such as low productivity level, possible accidents while on the job, and might possibly cause theft in the workplace. Being addicted to these prescription drugs makes everything quite complicated; not only in the workplace but also in personal spaces and relationships. Possession and usage of illegal drugs is a criminal liability. Unlike illegal drugs, addiction to prescription drugs does not necessarily entail criminal repercussions. It is a layered process involving the cooperation of physicians and a thorough review of the health history of the subject.

Moreover, a law known as Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA provides protection to those who are using these drugs. Basically, an organization or company is limited or in some cases, restricted to question an employee’s use of a prescription drug. This presents a problem to the employer especially if said employee displays unreasonable behavior that may be because of substance abuse.  Additionally, workers are entitled to keep the details of their health information private.  

There are a few exceptions though. It includes jobs that are dangerous and requires certain strengths. Also, employees who are undergoing post-recovery after an accident are supposed to tell this to their company physician. Some companies require full disclosure on their employees’ prescription drug medication.

In hindsight, it can also benefit the employees. Some people may not even recognize that they are already having an addiction to prescription drugs. In a sense, this could be a way to help employees find the road to recovery.

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