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Can Employers Legally Test for Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse is a problem that’s on many employers’ radar, and for good reason. Both Missouri and Kansas are behind in the fight against abuse of medications, and though some lawmakers are working toward creating prescription drug monitoring program, it remains to be seen if these efforts will pay off.

This means that employers have to take their own action to make sure prescription drugs are not having a negative impact on the workplace through drug testing.

Of course, there are legal questions whenever drug testing takes place, particularly in the case of prescription drug testing, as many individuals take medications they are legally prescribed. Here are details on the legalities of workplace prescription drug testing.

Why Prescription Drug Testing in the Workplace?

Many employers may consider testing for prescription drugs, but abandon the idea due to not wanting to navigate the legal complexities. But there is a real need for drug testing in the workplace:

Prescription drug abuse can increase on-site accidents and theft, inhibit productivity, and impact job performance
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), almost 20% of US citizens 12+ said they have used prescription medications for non-medical purposes at least once.

Per NIDA, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances behind marijuana and alcohol
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classify prescription drug abuse as an epidemic and “the fastest growing drug problem in the U.S.,” with one fatality from prescription drug abuse occurring every 19 minutes

Challenges & Solutions to Prescription Drug Testing

Clearly, prescription drug testing is necessary for US workplaces. It is not without its challenges, however.

“But It’s Legally Prescribed!”

One issue that employers may run into when conducting prescription drug testing is the fact that individuals may be legally prescribed a medication, so the mere presence of the substance in their system is not enough to constitute a true positive.

However, keep in mind that even if a drug is legally prescribed, the patient may not be following instructions for taking the drug. You can’t take your employee’s word for it that they were legally prescribed medications and that they follow prescription instructions, but as an employer, you also cannot demand to see their medical records to verify prescription. Furthermore, use of many prescription drugs is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Ensuring Legal Compliance & Testing Effectiveness

When you complete prescription drug testing with ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City North, you work with a certified Medical Review Officer in order to verify prescriptions and adherence to prescription instructions. Our workplace testing ensures that individuals who are legally taking medications are not penalized alongside those who are recreationally taking drugs. Whenever a test comes back non-negative, the Medical Review Officer will step in to confirm or dispute the finding.

To begin testing for prescription drugs in your workplace, contact ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City North today at (816) 399-4597.

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