Job Safety

December 31, 2004

Drug Testing

A JJ Keller article reminded me of how sensitive drug testing is.

We do not condone any kind of drug use by workers engaged in dangerous activities. But it is important to focus on what matters: Can the worker perform safely and efficiently when called upon to do so?

While drug use information may well be important for addressing drug addiction it is often irrelevant to safety.

Here is the article:

“When it comes to DOT drug and alcohol testing, a driver may think that something consumed over the weekend won’t show up during the work week.

“If your driver is betting on this, he/she may be in for a shock. The driver may suddenly find that his/her career as a commercial driver is put on hold (until the DOT Return-to-Duty Process is completed) all because of an off-duty indiscretion. Drug and alcohol detection periods vary from individual to individual – the kind of drug and pattern of use factor in, as do the rates of metabolism and excretion. The detection periods listed below should be taken as approximations. There may be times when an individual falls outside of these norms.

Controlled substance
Detection Period

Amphetamine
1-2 days

Methamphetamine
1-2 days

Benzoylecgonine
2-3 days

Cannabinoids (marijuana)

Casual use
Up to 7 days

Chronic use
Up to 30 days

Cocaine
Benzoylecgonine
2-3 days

Codeine
Usually up to 2 days

Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
Usually up to 2 days

Morphine (for Heroin)
Usually up to 2 days

Phencyclidine (PCP)

Casual use
Up to 8 days

Chronic use
Up to 30 days

It should also be noted that alcohol can be detected between 12-24 hours after consumption.

A drivers needs to be reminded that the behaviors that he/she participates in may have consequences long after the party’s over.