Monday, May 18, 2009

Prescription Drug Abuse - The Real Threat to Workplace Safety

Prescription Drugs And Alcohol

If the underlying purpose of drug testing is safety, there is no
reason why drug testing should be limited to illicit drugs. In
terms of the number of people who abuse alcohol and prescription
drugs, and the fatalities, injuries, and property
damage caused by their effects in the workplace, legal substances
pose a much greater threat than illegal drugs.

Improperly used prescription and “over the counter” drugs
present a significant problem in the workplace. Policies for
these substances should be incorporated into a comprehensive
drug testing program.

Prescription drugs may be harmful to the user, other employees, and the public, if they are abused. Prescription drugs can present legal problems for employers if drug testing programs do not take into account the fact that employees may be using them, properly or improperly.

There are several practical methods available toobtain the necessary information about prescription drug use which would affect job performance.

• Incorporate in the testing consent form a space for employees to list all prescription drugs they are currently taking.
• Provide a separate form for employees to complete whenever they are asked to submit to a physical which includes a drug test.
• Develop and post a rule requiring employees returning to work from an illness to indicate whether he/she has been given a prescription, and if so, for what.
• Develop and post a rule requiring employees to inform a supervisor any time they take a prescription or overthe-counter drug, and provide that management will determine whether the employee is fit to perform his duties while on that drug.
• Require employees returning from illness or layoff to submit to a physical to determine fitness for duty.
Oral Fluid Drug Screening for Prescription Pain Releivers and Illicit Drugs

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