Multiple studies show covid’s impact on drug use. Drug use is increasing. Drug use and drug overdoses have risen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, there has been an increased use of everything from recreational drugs like alcohol and marijuana to harder substances like cocaine and heroin. Employers need to understand COVID’s impact on drug use and update their organization’s drug policies.
COVID’s Impact on Drug Use Combined with Other Factors
The impact of COVID has been multiplied by changing laws. More and more states have legalized marijuana for personal use, making the drug easier to obtain. These laws increase overall usage, increasing the likelihood employees may come to work under the influence. If these employees are high and operate vehicles or machinery, anyone is at increased risk of injury because marijuana negatively impacts an employee’s ability to do their job safely.
There are also ancillary effects of increased drug use, such as poor workplace performance, tardiness, reduced output or low morale. Employees under the influence may make poorer decisions overall, leading to increases in workplace sexual harassment, violence, or performing their job duties.
It is Time to Update Your Drug Program
As COVID’s impact on drug use continues, employers need to keep drug use out of the workplace.
For testing on a pre-employment basis, employers should institute a zero-tolerance policy for drug use, especially for those positions that can impact safety. If current employees are found to test positive and they are in a safety-sensitive position, an employer should consider referral to an Employee Assistance Program first before terminating. Any employee found to be in possession of a drug on workplace properties should be immediately terminated. Employers should be able to drug test employees believed to be under the influence, especially following an incident.
Managers should be trained to assess if an employee is under impairment. Managers should never confront a suspected employee one-on-one. Another manager should be president, and the employee’s behavior should be documented.
Don’t use drug testing to manage poor performance.
Many employers use drug testing to manage poor performance. Employees should not be subjected to a drug test only if they perform poorly at work or are habitually late. Manage the poor performance. Drug testing an employee should occur following an incident or if a manager has noticed signs of influence consistent with their training.
Learn More from James P. Randisi & Associates
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through the implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com