Last updated: March 27, 2023
Reasonable suspicion drug testing enables managers and business owners to identify impairment due to drug or alcohol use to reduce workplace accidents.
What is reasonable suspicion drug testing?
It is the process of identifying possible impairment based on observable signs, including slurred speech, stumbling, the smell of alcohol, etc., and then conducting a drug test in accordance with your company’s published drug testing policy. It differs from random drug testing in that particular employees are singled out based on observable signs of impairment.
All employees and volunteers are subject to reasonable suspicion drug testing, regardless of their title or position within the company.
How is reasonable suspicion drug testing conducted?
When a manager or business owner suspects an employee may be impaired, they will notify their USAMDT representative, who will immediately dispatch a collection specialist to the employee’s location to conduct a drug test. Any time spent taking a required drug test is considered hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act so employees must be paid for that time, however, since we come to you, there is very little downtime and employees don’t have the opportunity to cheat the test.
It’s also important to point out that very specific criteria must be met before flagging an employee for reasonable suspicion drug testing, so we suggest that managers, business owners, and HR professionals participate in our supervisor training program.
Results can be obtained from urine, saliva, or hair samples, so we can conduct reasonable suspicion drug testing anywhere, even if privacy is not available.
*Note: A urine drug test is currently the only method approved for DOT drug testing.
What will show up in a drug test?
There are various types of drug tests, including 5 panel, 10 panel, 12 panel, and non-standard drug tests, enabling employers to test for:
- Amphetamines (meth, speed, crank, ecstasy)
- THC (cannabinoids, marijuana, hash)
- Cocaine (coke, crack)
- Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)
- Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)
- Barbiturates (phenobarbital, butalbital, secobarbital, downers)
- Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers like Valium, Librium, Xanax)
- Methaqualone (Quaaludes)
- Methadone (often used to treat heroin addiction)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon compounds)
- Inhalants (paint, glue, hairspray)
- Anabolic steroids (synthesized, muscle-building hormones)
- Hydrocodone (prescription medication known as Lortab, Vicodin, Oxycodone)
- MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy)
Who can see the results of a drug test?
Drug test results are considered sensitive information, and should be kept more secure that standard HR records. Generally, they should only be available to senior management. With the exception of companies and organizations regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), there are currently no specific laws or regulations governing this, however, USAMDT treats drug test results the same way that your doctor treats medical information under current HIPAA regulations. This includes compartmentalization of information, data encryption, and secure communications. More information about these regulations can be found on the HIPAA Web site or by contacting your USAMDT representative.