What is a pre-employment drug test?

A pre-employment drug test serves to ascertain whether a potential hire uses illicit substances or misuses prescription medication. It can also be required for employees returning to work after an injury or absence, in which case it may be referred to as a pre-placement drug test. It is a standard practice for employers to request job candidates to undergo a pre-employment drug test, and the job offer may be conditional on the applicant passing the test. These drug tests typically screen for the use of specific illegal drugs (though additional substances may be tested if necessary):
  • Methamphetamines (meth, speed, crank, ecstasy)

  • THC (cannabinoids, marijuana, hash)

  • Cocaine (coke, crack)

  • Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)

  • Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)

Why employers should require pre-employment drug testing?

Prioritizing workplace safety is paramount for any company, and conducting pre-employment drug tests can significantly aid in mitigating the risks associated with drug misuse. By making it clear on job applications that the offer of employment may depend on the drug test results, employers can discourage substance abusers from applying in the first place. For roles where employees work in safety-sensitive environments, pre-employment drug testing becomes crucial as it helps decrease the occurrence of costly workers compensation claims related to drug or alcohol use.

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