Mark de Berndardo

Today, 14.6 million employees in the United States are current drug users, meaning the employee has used an illicit drug at least once in the past month. Substance abuse in the workplace adversely impacts performance, attendance, safety and health care costs.

Our presenter, Mark A. de Bernardo, is anationally recognized expert in workplace drug testing and substance abuse prevention. As a Senior Partner of Jackson Lewis LLP, he focuses on employment litigation and counseling, government relations and workplace drug testing issues. In addition, Mr. de Bernardo is the founder and Executive Director of the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace, a national coalition dedicated to promoting and preserving the rights of employers and employees in effective substance abuse prevention programs.

Mr. de Bernardo says, “Employees should know that their choice to engage in illicit drug use jeopardizes their employment with the company.”

Below are some valuable tips from his presentation to help to create an effective workplace policy and substance abuse prevention program.

  • Ensure the three essentials – justification, prohibitions and penalties – are included in your company’s policy.
  • Be direct and to the point with your company policy. Do not dilute the language of the policy. If your message is clear and strong, it effectively defines the penalties for a violation.
  • Use the words safety and health in the first sentence of your policy. Emphasize that your company is committed to ensuring a drug-free work environment for all of its employees.
  • Include the misuse of illegal drugs, illicit drugs (such as synthetic drugs), legal drugs taken without a valid prescription or not in accordance with a prescription, and alcohol in your policy.
  • Follow federal law regardless of what’s happening at the state level. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) outlines all illegal drugs.
  • Conduct a pre-employment drug test post-offer and pre-hire. A job candidate should not start working prior to passing their drug test.
  • Do not limit your prohibitions to “on-the-job.” Simply prohibit drug use – period.
  • Implement a “post-incident,” not a post-accident drug testing policy to cover all circumstances.
  • Communicate your policy repeatedly and on an ongoing basis. Conduct employee education and awareness programs to encourage cooperation.
  • Universally apply the policy to all employees across the company.

Visit our webinar page to listen to a recording of this webinar and other presentations by Quest Diagnostics.

For more information about drug testing and how to build an effective program, contact us online.

Workplace Opioid Use is Costing Employers

by Nicole Jupe on October 15, 2014

Wall Street Journal chartA recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the impact of the increasing use of heroin and opioids in the workplace and its financial toll. Employers are struggling with a rise in accidents, theft, absenteeism and turnover as well as reduced productivity due to drug abuse.

The article tells the story of how drug use is “afflicting the workforce” throughout the country from a factory in Wisconsin that receives reports from employees about their co-workers being high on the job to an employer in Allen County, Ohio who is struggling to fill positions because up to 70% of  job applicants are failing the pre-employment drug tests.

In the greater Cincinnati area, employees involved in a range of incidents—from damaging property with forklifts and other heavy machinery to crashing company vehicles—have tested positive for opioids according to the regional health services provider.

Data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ is cited in the article, showing that while the overall rate of U.S. workers who tested positive for drugs declined 18% between 2003 and 2013, it rose for certain opioids. During the same period, the rate of positive tests nearly tripled for hydromorphone, commonly known as Dilaudid, and almost doubled for hydrocodone, sold under brand names such as Vicodin. Heroin data is available only for recent years and shows an 82% increase in the positivity rate between 2010 and 2013.

In response to an increase in employee opioid use, companies are expanding their drug testing, introducing zero-tolerance policies and setting up employee assistance programs to help those seeking treatment for addiction.

Today, that Wisconsin factory introduced random drug testing, created a counseling and rehabilitation program and invited police officers to conduct parking lot inspections to help combat the problem. Other companies are also bringing in law enforcement officials to train supervisors to look for signs of drug use and working with other local employers to educate the community and focus on rehabilitation.

For more information about drug testing and how to build an effective program, contact us online.

 

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

October 13, 2014 Industry News

The latest data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reports that the positivity rate for 7.6 million urine drug tests in the combined U.S. workforce increased to 3.7 percent in 2013, compared to 3.5 percent in 2012. The relative increase of 5.7 percent year-over-year is the first time the positivity rate for combined […]

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Insights from our ‘Tracking the Trends’ Webinar

October 10, 2014 Quest News

Industry expert, Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, is responsible for gathering, publishing and interpreting the trends for the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) data. The DTI is arguably the industry’s longest standing, most frequently relied upon resource for drug use patterns within the American workforce.  In a recent webinar, Dr. […]

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National Drug-Free Work Week: October 13-18

October 7, 2014 Industry News

The latest data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reports that the positivity rate for 7.6 million urine drug tests in the combined U.S. workforce increased to 3.7 percent in 2013, compared to 3.5 percent in 2012. The relative increase of 5.7 percent year-over-year is the first time the positivity rate for combined […]

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Online Drug Testing Solutions Made Simple

October 3, 2014 Online Solutions

Technology gives you the tools to help to make complicated tasks simpler. Because we know the drug testing process can sometimes be complex, we analyzed the steps to identify and create useful, electronic solutions designed to simplify and enhance your workflow. We offer a full spectrum of online solutions for each step of the drug […]

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Marijuana Positivity Increases

October 1, 2014 Quest News

Marijuana continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug, according to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) analysis of urine drug tests. Marijuana positivity in the combined U.S. workforce increased 6.2 percent, to 1.7 percent in 2013 compared to 1.6 percent in 2012. In the safety-sensitive workforce, marijuana positivity increased 5.6 percent (0.67% […]

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Positivity Is Up for the First Time in a Decade

September 25, 2014 Quest News

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) measures positivity trends based on workplace drug test results. The findings are published as a public service for government, media and industry and are considered a benchmark for national trends. The latest data shows that the positivity rate for 7.6 million urine drug tests in the combined U.S. […]

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Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

September 24, 2014 Industry News

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way for individuals to dispose of unused prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. The latest data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reports that prescription opiate rates, which include hydrocodone […]

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“Tracking the Trends: Insights from the Drug Testing Index” Webinar

September 18, 2014 Quest News

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) is arguably the industry’s longest standing, most frequently relied upon resource for drug use patterns within the American workforce. Our presenter, Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, is responsible gathering, publishing and interpreting the trends found within the data. Join us on Tuesday, October 7 […]

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