Drug Testing 101

Drug Testing 101

While drug testing is a common part of many workplace safety programs, knowing how and where to start can be confusing. We’ve compiled the basics of workplace drug testing to help you decide if adding a drug testing program to your workplace safety protocols is the right move for your company.


What is a Drug Test?

A drug test looks for the presence of illegal or prescription drugs in employee samples such as urine, blood, saliva or hair.

Types of Drug Tests

  • Federally regulated (DOT): Required under federal guidelines for employees that work in safety-sensitive positions, such as truck drivers, pipeline workers, city transit drivers, pilots, ship captains, etc.
  • Non-regulated (non-DOT): Employers that are not required to test under federal guidelines but may test under their company policy.

Reasons for Testing

  • Pre-employment: Testing before an employee starts working for a company.
  • Random: Testing employees while they are working for the company, using computer-generated random selection.
  • Post-accident: Testing that occurs after an accident. There are specific DOT and non-DOT criteria that companies follow for post-accident testing.
  • Reasonable suspicion: Testing that occurs after identifying and documenting signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol use in the workplace.
  • Return-to-duty: Testing that generally occurs after a positive test to make sure that the donor is negative before returning to work.
  • Follow-up: Testing that is required following a positive drug screen after a specific length of time. The length of time is determined by a substance abuse professional.

Drug Testing Panels

  • DOT panel: The DOT panel tests for use of Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana (THC), Opioids and Phencyclidine (PCP). It is the only panel tested under DOT guidelines. The DOT panel is consistent across regulated companies and drug testing laboratories.
  • Non-DOT panel: While the DOT panel is also the industry standard for non-DOT testing, the panels used by companies from non-regulated industries are ultimately dictated by each individual employer based on their needs.

Drug testing laboratories offer many panel options. The panel you choose depends on the type of positives seen in a given market and the type of industry the company is in.

OccMed Clinic Drug Testing Options

  • Collection only: Collection and shipping of the specimen with no results reporting to Sanford OccMed.
  • Full service: Sanford OccMed provides collection, shipping, lab processing and reporting of results.

What is the Role of the Sanford OccMed Drug Administration Services Team?

Services include:

  • Management of drug testing programs for DOT and non-DOT companies
  • Medical review officer (MRO) review and reporting of full service drug screen results
  • Drug testing program setup and assistance with DOT clearinghouse guidance, reporting and query options, random selection, and testing compliance
  • Regulation and employer policy guidance • Online training for designated employer representative (DER) and DOT reasonable suspicion training

If you have any questions regarding our drug and alcohol testing services, contact us at (888) 600-2378 or email us.

Interested in learning more? Enroll in our upcoming webinar on April 20. This webinar is hosted by Joel Blanchard, MD, and will explore the impact of legalized marijuana on workplace drug testing.

Register Now