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Using Drugs Can be Fatal – to Getting a Job

May 24, 2016
Plain English Version

Drug test

Many employers give drug tests to applicants. Some do it because a law says they must. For example, a school bus driver cannot be high on marijuana. Others do it because some jobs, like working a forklift, are dangerous. They need close attention. And others do it to reduce injures.  That will  lower the cost of workers’ compensation.

Attitudes about using drugs are changing. Marijuana has become legal in many places. Still, for many jobs, if you test positive for drugs you will not get the job.

The number of job applicants failing drug tests is rising. At a job fair a few years ago, when applicants found they would have to take a drug test, about half of them left.

The biggest issue is marijuana use. Opioid and heroin users are other big problems.

The labor departments of some states are trying to help. They are providing workers with drug counseling. An official said it is not an easy process. An employer in Colorado said, “To find a roofer or a painter that can pass a drug test is unheard-of.”

Latinos are good workers. But one employer wanted a mixed work force. He recruited white workers. He said, “As soon as I say ‘criminal background check and drug test,’ they are out the door.”

Forty years ago drug testing was new. There were more positive findings. The recent increase in the number of job applicants failing drug tests is troubling.

An employer said, “Most people cannot pass the drug test because they do not want to pass a drug test.” He added, “They want the job but still want to be in that lifestyle. And they have to choose.”

Source: The New York Times May 17, 2016

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