More employees are cheating on workplace drug tests. Here's how.

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Cannabis manufacture expects reclassification of marijuana by Justice Dept. to assistance concern

Cannabis manufacture expects reclassification of marijuana by Justice Dept. to assistance business 04:08

A grounds fig of U.S. workers are cheating connected leader cause tests by tampering with urine samples oregon utilizing different means to evade detection, caller probe shows

The percent of employees who tried to fake the results of workplace cause screenings jumped much than six-fold successful 2023 from the erstwhile year, according to Quest Diagnostics, a nationalist cause investigating company. 

The surge successful workers trying to fell their cause usage comes as more states crossed the U.S. legalize recreational marijuana use. The shifting ineligible situation and changing societal norms astir cannabis usage is forcing employers to reappraisal their drug-testing policies. The main purpose of employer-mandated cause tests is to guarantee a harmless workplace, portion recreational cause usage tin besides impact idiosyncratic productivity. 

"Workforce cause investigating exists due to the fact that it's intended arsenic a deterrence mechanism," Dr. Suhash Harwani, elder manager of subject for workforce wellness solutions astatine Quest, told CBS MoneyWatch. "That's wherefore it was founded — to guarantee workplace safety."

Quest's investigation of laboratory information besides recovered that the cause positivity complaint for the wide U.S. workforce remained astatine a grounds precocious of 4.6%, up from a debased of 3.5% betwixt 2010 and 2012. 

As of April 2024, recreational marijuana is ineligible successful 24 states, oregon astir fractional the country, according to the Pew Research Center. 

How workers cheat

Workers typically utilized 1 of 2 methods to foil an employer's cause investigating protocols: substituting their urine specimens by replacing them with synthetic formulas oregon adjacent carnal urine, oregon submitting invalid specimens, suggesting they'd been tampered with successful bid to conceal cause use. 

"Given the increasing acceptance and usage of immoderate drugs, peculiarly marijuana, it whitethorn beryllium unsurprising that immoderate radical consciousness it indispensable to effort and cheat a cause test," Dr. Harwani said successful a statement. "It is imaginable that our society's normalization of cause usage is fostering environments successful which immoderate employees consciousness it is acceptable to usage specified drugs without genuinely knowing the interaction they person connected workplace safety."

Some experts expressed interest astir the findings, saying they underline a request to amended cause investigating policies and procedures.

"Drug tests are an important instrumentality employers person to support everyone successful communities safe," Katie Mueller, elder programme manager astatine the National Safety Council, told CBS MoneyWatch. "When argumentation and process fails america oregon radical marque decisions to change their tests for immoderate reason, it puts everyone astatine risk."

Regarding the widening propulsion to legalize cannabis, Mueller added that "we request to person a truly unfastened dialog with employees, employers and lawmakers astir the impacts of legalization, and however it's trickling down to the workplace." 

Dr. Harwani said determination could beryllium amended ways of investigating employees and occupation candidates for cause usage than relying connected urine samples. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation precocious approved oral fluid investigating to observe cause use, successful summation to utilizing urine samples. 

Whereas urine samples are submitted successful a backstage space, oral fluids are collected straight by laboratory technicians. And portion drugs tin instrumentality clip to amusement up successful a donor's urine sample, they tin beryllium detected successful saliva instantly aft they are used. 

Megan Cerullo

Megan Cerullo is simply a New York-based newsman for CBS MoneyWatch covering tiny business, workplace, wellness care, user spending and idiosyncratic concern topics. She regularly appears connected CBS News 24/7 to sermon her reporting.

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