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Why Employers Need To Consider Fentanyl Testing For Their Employees

Why Employers Need to test for Fentanyl Use When Drug Testing Their Employees

Drug tests look for signs of substance abuse. These tests are conducted by retrieving and testing urine, sweat, hair, spit, or blood samples. 

Drug testing for some industries is paramount, not just for employee safety, but for clients as well. Take the medical field, for one. Medical practitioners work long hours, face a lot of emotional trauma in the line of duty, and have access to opioids and other prescription medications. 

Outside of hospitals, illegal drugs seem more readily available today than ever. Despite this, the issue of employee testing remains a controversial one to date.    

Let’s examine which drugs can show up on tests, the fentanyl epidemic, and why employers need to implement fentanyl testing. 

Commonly Tested Drugs

The most commonly tested substances are:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines which include methamphetamine
  • Barbiturates 
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opioids and opiates like codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl
  • Steroids
  • Phencyclidine

Why Fentanyl Testing?

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid approved for managing severe pain, typically in cancer patients. The drug is said to be 50 to 100 more powerful than morphine.

However, while the drug was made for good, it has recently become the drug of choice for abusers in the U.S. 

So much so that it’s often termed the ‘fentanyl epidemic,’ complete with a National Fentanyl Awareness Day (May 22, 2022). 

Despite its potency, it’s often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine to increase their euphoric effects, with or without the user’s knowledge. The result is deaths. Tens of thousands of deaths every year. 

Why Fentanyl Testing Makes Sense

Here are six reasons to drug test employees.

1. Workplace Safety

Employers are expected to provide a safe working environment for all their employees. This is a legal requirement contained in the Health and Safety Policy, and drug testing can support this. 

Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol impairs one’s ability to carry out their duties as one should. 

Think about a doctor performing surgery on drugs, commercial drivers on the road under the influence, teachers, and factory workers handling heavy equipment. Disastrous. 

Not only will these professionals increase their level of risk, but they also risk the safety of those around them. 

2. Consistent Work Quality

Hiring staff is not an exact science. As a recruiter, you will go off a written resume and what a candidate tells you during the interviewing phase. Naturally, job candidates put their best foot forward and will not bring up any unpleasant information, drug use included. 

Pre-employment screening, including background checks, social media checks, and drug testing, can be crucial in helping learn more about a candidate and their suitability. These, alongside routine drug testing, can save HR from numerous disciplinary incidences, accidents, and underperformance issues.

On the other hand, ensuring your workforce is drug-free reduces substance-related fatigue, absenteeism, task-related errors, and lack of focus. 

3. Lower Health Insurance Premiums

Insurance companies make profits by keeping compensation low. Therefore, anything you can do as a company to reduce the number of claims you make per year is good business for insurers. And in turn, they can reward your efforts by lowering your insurance claims. 

Companies with clean Drug and Alcohol policies enforced by occasional screening can often negotiate better insurance terms. 

4. To Help Sift Good Hires From Bad Ones

The idea of drug testing can spare you a lot of trouble and even cost when placed at the right point of the hiring process. 

In all your job advertisements, make it clear that you will only extend a job offer after suitable candidates undertake a drug test. You can also mention a drug testing company policy. 

This will deter most drug users from applying for roles advertised by your company. This means you will save time pursuing and interviewing candidates with drug problems. 

Secondly, employees who abuse drugs tend to be problematic. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). They change jobs more often, get into more work accidents, come in late or miss work frequently and submit more worker’s compensation claims. 

Having a drug testing policy pre and after employment saves you the headache of managing these issues and helps preserve company funds. 

5. To Minimize Workplace Conflict

Some common characteristics of unchecked drug use include tardiness, absenteeism, lying, integrity issues, lowered productivity, mood swings, and aggression. 

While many organizations are happy to support an employee working towards beating an addiction, the situation might cause conflict with other employees. 

No one wants to contend with increased workloads, covering other people’s shifts, re-doing their work, and so on. So an employee on drugs can begin to cause frustration and tension in other employees, reducing their morale, happiness, and engagement at work. 

This creates an even bigger problem for the organization. Occasional fentanyl testing will help you identify employees using the drug so that you can come up with win-win solutions for everyone involved.

6. To Protect Your Brand Image

Aside from physiological effects, fentanyl affects one’s personality. This can be seen in how a person handles stress, emotions, and decision-making; it can also lower one’s inhibitions. 

These effects can be catastrophic, more so in customer-facing employees. Employees on fentanyl can make irreversible errors, take their stress or anger out on clients, and even show out in front of customers. In as much as these are individual employees, it becomes difficult to separate an organization from someone in its employ. 

This means that your reputation goes down the drain alongside that of the employee in question. In these social media days, the damage your company can suffer from a viral post can leave you in the dumps for months or years on end. 

Protect Your Investment

In a day and age when fentanyl access and abuse are so common, it makes sense to do your bit to protect your investment and that’s why fentanyl testing is so important.

Contact Wolfe Inc. Today

Wolfe Inc. is here to help employers and medical providers combat the fentanyl overdose epidemic by offering the most comprehensive employment drug testing services available. Our Team of employment toxicology testing experts are here to assist your practice, company or school system with any questions you might have!

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In observance of Independence Day on July 4th, Wolfe will be closed. Normal office hours will resume on the 5th of July.