Last updated: November 22, 2021
Want to ensure a safe and drug-free workplace throughout Portland? Workplace drug testing can help you accomplish exactly that so that you can boost workplace safety, increase productivity, and you may even receive a discount on your workers’ comp insurance. Several states currently offer the incentive, and the savings range from four up to ten percent.
USAMDT provides a wide range of drug screening services around the Portland, CO area that enable you to screen out new employees who have a substance abuse problem, discourage existing employees from using drugs, and identify those who do. All while maintaining DOT compliance if you’re regulated, or just freeing you up to focus on other areas of your company if you’re not. And we can perform drug testing at your location or ours, 24/7/365.
As opposed to old-fashioned labs, USAMDT is available 24/7—and we travel to your workplace to minimize downtime. When we’re managing your entire drug testing program, you enjoy all of the advantages without having to deal with the administrative details. With us in charge, you can be sure your workplace drug testing gets performed on time, every time, no matter where your staff are located or when you need them tested.
You don’t need to interrupt the employee’s sleep cycle to go to a drug testing lab during regular business hours. Now you won’t need to send employees off-site for drug testing at a laboratory leaving the crew short staffed. We arrive on-site—no matter where it is—totally prepared to professionally administer the test.
When to conduct a drug test
If you are regulated by the DOT, you must adhere to strict laws on employee drug testing. Many employers for the general workforce mimic these guidelines when developing their own drug testing policies and procedures.
USAMDT offers Portland businesses a program that tailors your drug testing policies for your specific needs. We’ll also write and then implement your policy, and provide employee education and staff training at your request.
There are many reasons for workplace drug testing, including:
Pre-employment drug testing
The DOT requires that a negative drug test result is on file before a driver is permitted to get behind the wheel. Many employers for non-DOT-regulated companies require a pre-employment drug test before a new hire begins work as well.
Random drug testing
Most people associate random drug testing with Department of Transportation compliance, however, it’s also used in other industries too. The department requires all safety-sensitive staff to have their names added to a random pool. This pool is used to randomly create a list of employees who are instructed to report for a drug test immediately.
DOT drug testing
The DOT requires that all members of a safety-sensitive workforce are drug tested before they use a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In addition, drivers are entered into the random test pool and may be called up for drug testing at various intervals throughout the year. Post-accident, probationary, reasonable suspicion, and return to duty testing are also mandatory.
The DOT requires a urine test and looks for the following drugs:
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Opiates including synthetic opiates
Reasonable suspicion drug testing
Train your management personnel to spot the signs of substance impairment. If they believe an employee is impaired, they should know the company policy and have everything documented before approaching that employee. The suspected employee must then report for drug-testing immediately.
Post-accident drug testing
If there is a workplace accident, drug testing all employees involved can help identify who is to blame and defend you from legal liability.
Return to duty drug testing
A registered SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) works with the driver, or other safety-sensitive employees, who had a positive drug test result. The SAP signs them off as able to return to work after the safety-sensitive employee has a negative drug test result.
Drug testing methods
We can conduct drug tests throughout Portland utilizing a variety of different methods, depending on your circumstances. Each method has pros and cons, and you should talk with one of our specialists if you need advice on deciding which is best for you.
All test specimens undergo an initial screen. The immunoassay (IA) test identifies a positive or negative result. The majority of drug tests are negative and this cost-efficient test saves employers money because no further testing is needed.
Tests registering a positive result go on for confirmation testing. The gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test confirms the positive result by identifying the drug and the level contained in the sample.
You can learn more below about the methods we use for drug testing within Portland, Colorado.
The industry standard is the urinalysis. (This is currently the only testing method approved for DOT drug testing.) Urinalysis is fast, easy, and inexpensive, but it does come with a few drawbacks.
You need access to a private restroom, and you have to disable the sink and toilet, and place a bluing agent in the water in the toilet bowl. Privacy concerns may also be a challenge because a test must be performed by an administrator of the same sex.
In addition, the privacy factor also provides an opportunity to attempt to cheat the test by adding adulterants, which creates a negative dillute or positive dillute drug test result, or substituting the specimen entirely. However, technological advances in both testing procedures and lab equipment make it increasingly difficult for dishonest employees to succeed.
This testing method can identify drugs from about a half-hour after use up to a few weeks after discontinuing use. Chronic marijuana use is an exception to the rule. Addicts can test positive for over thirty days. You can learn more here: How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?
Employers receive test results in a few days.
Mouth swab / oral fluid
This method of drug testing is somewhat newer, but is still every bit accurate as a urinalysis. It’s also just as fast, easy, and inexpensive. It offers the smallest window of detection though. Still, it identifies most drugs within just a few minutes of use. It only identifies drugs for a period of up to 72 hours prior to the test.
The most powerful advantage of the mouth swab drug test is that it can be performed literally anywhere—even in plain sight of other employees. The test only requires placing a mouth swab between the lower cheek and gum. The employee holds it in place until it is saturated. The whole process rarely takes more than 5 minutes. Despite the claims we hear many drug users make, the only way to pass a mouth swab drug test is to not use drugs.
Results are received in just a couple of days.
Because it can identify recent drug use, it’s becoming a popular choice for random drug testing. In fact, the HHS (The Health and Human Services Administration) approved the use of this testing method as an alternative drug testing method for all federally mandated employers as of January 1, 2020.
At this time, it’s unclear whether or not the DOT will approve this method into its regulations.
The less common hair follicle drug testing method offers the same convenience as mouth swab testing, however, it’s more expensive.
The fact that it offers a 90-day detection window overrides the additional cost in the eyes of more and more business owners. In fact, the DOT officially requested that the hair test replace the urine drug test. The request is passing through the chain-of-command and many expect to hear the final decision soon.
This test requires the administrator to cut a small (less than 1” wide) amount of hair, preferably from near the base of the scalp, and secure it in a zipper-lock plastic bag. While this testing method is easy and convenient, some staff may have an issue with having their hair cut.
Body hair can be taken instead and is tested by volume rather than length. Administrators collect enough hair to equal the size of a cotton ball about an inch in diameter.
Body hair offers a longer detection window than head hair. Hair collected from an employee’s head can detect drug use for up to 90-days, while hair collected from the body will detect drug use for about a year.
The hair test doesn’t detect current impairment or very recent drug use.