Drug test positivity rates increased by 43 percent in April 2020 compared to the month prior. This is according to data collected by Good Egg from their workplace drug testing results. “This is a very significant increase,” said Scott Mogensen, Director of Good Egg’s Drug and Alcohol Testing program. “We’ve never seen a larger month-over-month increase as we did this spring.”
It coincides with a period of time when many Americans were under much higher levels of stress as they navigated working from home, social isolation and worry over their family’s general health and wellbeing.
It’s a combination of factors that not only causes stress levels to increase, but it can also lead to worsening mental health issues – and individuals to abuse alcohol and drugs more than they would normally. “The data we’re seeing at Good Egg is consistent with what health care providers across the country have also been witnessing – drug use has been on the rise these past few months,” Mogensen said. “Not only is the stress related to the COVID pandemic causing individuals to relapse, but it’s causing some individuals to begin abusing drugs and alcohol for the first time.”
Most notably, are increases in marijuana, alcohol and opioid use.
The Importance of a Workplace Screening Program
A comprehensive drug-free workplace program can help ensure you’re maintaining a safe and productive workforce by screening employees for substance abuse issues both before they begin working for your company, as well as randomly throughout their employment.
This is particularly important if you have employees working from home, as you’ve now lost the ability to send employees for reasonable suspicion testing – something you were able to do if you saw signs of drug or alcohol abuse in the workplace. Although you might be sensing something is wrong due to lack of productivity or overall responsiveness, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the issue when you and your employees are working in different locations.
Because the legality of randomly testing your employees varies from state to state, it’s important that you consult with your HR and/or legal team so that you understand what your options are. The next step is to build a compliant drug and alcohol testing policy that accurately describes your program and complies with state and federal law.
At Good Egg, we can do all of this for you to help ensure you have a comprehensive and compliant testing program in place that will keep your company safe.