Work drug testing down nationally; not in Texas

A couple of factors could impact the future of employment drug tests: a low unemployment rate and more states legalizing pot.

Quest Diagnostics Inc. reports failed tests reached an all-time high last year.

Houston branch of National Screening Center’s Bruce Jeffries said drug tests aren’t declining.

“I have not seen a company policy be rescinded due to the fact that they don’t want to test for any pharmaceuticals or marijuana,” said Jeffries. “I have not seen one ounce of downturn. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen an upturn due to the opiate crisis.”

With historically low unemployment, companies can change their employment standards or they can change their talent development strategy.

Adaptive Construction Solutions, Inc. President Nicholas Morgan said government agencies still drug-tests any employee.

“I think the bigger issue with historically low unemployment is challenging for companies to find talent,” said Morgan. “While some employers are considering adopting change in their employment standards, most companies are still going to be fairly strict about their drug policies that encourage both safety and productivity in the workplace.”

Some jobs, such as those involving the use of heavy machinery, will always require drug tests. Employees involved in accidents or who come to work notably impaired are also subject to drug testing.

Nationally, some employers have quietly changed their policies in recent years to not punish people for their recreational habits.

The Texas Workforce Commission for employers wanting to understand best practices and their rights:

Drug Policy

Sample Drug Policy

Sample Employee Agreement and Consent to Testing

Drug Testing and Unemployment Claims

Employers can also contact TWC Employer Hotline at 800-832-9394

ACS sponsors a Department of Labor group Registered Apprenticeship for multiple occupations. As the apprenticeship sponsor, ACS manages administrative requirements, recruits future apprentices and partners with workforce agencies to reduce financial costs. Last year ACS enrolled more veterans into apprenticeships than 32 states enrolled for all occupations. Employers and jobseekers can learn more at

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