5 Things CleanFleet Learned at National Drug Testing Industry Conference
CleanFleet is dedicated to keeping our clients and staff up-to-date on the latest in the Drug & Alcohol Testing industry and one way we do this is by attending the national DATIA annual conference. This year the three day Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) conference “Big Ideas in the Big Easy” was held in New Orleans from May 22nd to 24th.
Here are five things we learned:
1. The drug testing industry is rapidly changing.
There is a lot of change happening in the drug testing industry, from regulatory changes to a push for more efficient electronic processes.
These changes include:
- Frequent changes in recreational marijuana laws and possible changes to drug testing employees in those states
- Collection sites and C/TPAs need to ensure that federal chain of custody forms are being used
- The use of more efficient electronic chain of custody forms (eCCFs) are starting to be widely used for DOT urine workplace drug tests
- DOT expanded their 5 panel drug test to include four synthetic opioids
- FMCSA online drug testing “Clearinghouse” is coming where motor carriers would be required to query the database of positive drug tests when making new hires and once a year for existing drivers
To read in detail about many of these changes, check out CleanFleet’s blog.
2. ODAPC’s top staff are still trying to work out complicated drug testing issues like gender observed testing
In Oregon last year, a Multnomah County judge allowed Army veteran Jaime Shupe to legally identify as neither male nor female, a first in the U.S. The ruling required the Oregon DMV to find a solution for a court ordered gender neutral classification as an administrative change.
Oregon DMV’s solution allows Oregonians to “opt out” of providing a specific gender on the driver’s license and using an “X” to signify this gender “option”. However, these change bring up many questions for businesses.
There are many situations where employees may face an observed drug test. It is here the first questions arise. How is that observed drug test to take place? Traditionally, a person of the same gender is required to be in the room for the observed drug test. Does this mean drug testing collection sites must have a Gender X staff to observe the drug test?
A representative at the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC) told us that there is no talk of ODAPC level regulations coming down from the current administration on gender neutral regulations.
ODAPC’s “unofficial” recommendation for collection facilities is to follow TSA rules in gender neutral situation or rely on the gender as expressed by the employee being tested. If a “Gender X” person expresses them-self as a female, then they get patted down by a female TSA agent.
However, Legacy Health Systems has instructed collection sites that “it was determined that we are going to go by Anatomy when this issue comes up” for their non-federal testing for observed collection, like Department of Human Services drug testing.
We are still waiting for an official recommendation from ODAPC.
3. Non-federal drug testing regulations are all over the board state-by-state
As we have seen over the years, drug laws and standards are changing, and states are no longer uniform in their existing drug laws or drug testing requirements or restrictions.
Some states and cities restrict types of testing circumstances (like Random testing) and specimens permitted in a drug test. Other states have strict requirements for notifying employees of positive test results, as well as the disciplinary consequences that may be imposed for testing positive.
Furthermore, some states do not have drug testing regulations, while others offer workers’ compensation premium discounts.
A word of caution, it is critical for employers to become familiar with the state and local testing laws applicable to their workforce. Just because you may not be aware of a rule, you or your company must still follow them. You can’t say “I didn’t know” and get away with non-compliance. Whether you are starting a testing program from scratch or updating an existing program, keeping up-to-date on state laws is essential. CleanFleet can help look over your policy.
4. Positivity Rate for drug testing is drastically increasing
In 2017, positive tests for illicit drugs in the American workforce remained at their highest level in more than a decade, according to the annual Drug Testing Index from lab services provider Quest Diagnostics.
“It’s unfortunate that we mark 30 years of the Drug-Free Workplace Act with clear evidence that drugs continue to invade the country’s workplaces,” Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, said in the release. “Not only have declines appeared to have bottomed out, but also in some drug classes and areas of the country drug positivity rates are increasing. These changing patterns and geographical variations may challenge the ability of employers to anticipate the ‘drug of choice’ for their workforce or where to best focus their drug prevention efforts to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.”
- Researchers found that 4.2 percent of the combined U.S. workforce (both the general workforce and those who undergo federally mandated drug testing) tested positive for the second straight year, which is the highest percentage of positive tests since 2004 (4.5 percent).
- Positive results for meth increased between 9 percent and 25 percent this past year in portions of the Midwest, East and South.
- Two states that have legalized recreational marijuana use since 2016, Nevada and Massachusetts, had the largest increases in positive tests for the drug: 43 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Nevada also had an increase of 39 percent in positive tests among safety-sensitive workers.
- The percentage of positive cocaine tests increased for the fifth consecutive year for each type of testing method (urine, oral fluid and hair testing). Cocaine positivity increased 12% in 2016, reaching a seven-year high in the general U.S. workforce.
5. Educating employers on the drug testing industry is critical
As we have discussed above, there are a lot of changes happening in this industry. CleanFleet is staying on top of these changes and you can expect more in-depth articles on many of these regulatory, political, and industry changes, as well as other educational resources.
CleanFleet also provides management training, including our Reasonable Suspicion Training (RST) that covers the physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of probable alcohol misuse and use of controlled substances and how to handle the RST process.
We want to give you the power to make educated decisions and we look forward to working alongside you throughout the years to come. If you are not already a member, you can become one by calling us at 503-479-6082. Be sure to join our newsletter as well to stay updated on industry news.