Why Should Employers Require Pre-Employment Drug Screening/Testing?

As an employer, ensuring a safe and productive workplace is crucial to the success of your business. One way to help achieve this is by implementing pre-employment drug screening, which can provide numerous benefits for both your company and your employees. This article will review Pre-Employment Drug Screening in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment, and also examine the legal compliance and risk mitigation of drug screening and review the local laws in Alaska. However, this information constantly changes, so if you are interested in making changes to your pre-employment drug screen policy, please contact us to create the most up to date plan.

Remember it is illegal to discriminate in hiring based on race, sex, gender, or religion and so it is important to create a policy that is testing everyone or truly testing at random. To ensure fairness and avoid any potential bias, it may be beneficial for employers to use a random selection process for drug screening rather than personally choosing which employees to screen. MedPhysicals Plus has randomized programs that match this very important standard. 

How to Prevent Discrimination in Drug Testing:

  • Clearly state the drug testing policy in the employee handbook, when an employee starts, when an employee interviews. Post the drug testing policy in online payrooms and in physical spaces where employees can know and understand the policies. 
  • Provide accommodations for employees with disabilities.
  • Use the least invasive methods when possible.
  • Ensure confidentiality of test results: Employers should ensure that test results are kept confidential and only disclosed on a need-to-know basis. This protects the privacy of employees and prevents the possibility of discrimination based on the results of a drug test.
  • Define what drugs are in your policy. Is marijuana legal in your state? Are there certain levels of drug usage you would permit? Do you have a time limit?

MedPhysicals Plus has processes in place to ensure that legal drugs such as certain opiates and other drugs prescribed by a pharmacist or doctor do not “set-off” the test.


  • By testing everyone before they start working for you this can prevent discrimination. 
  • In certain industries it is required. 
  • It may be written into health insurance policies for “post-accident” collection.
  • For those who are employed by the federal government, who receive federal grants or contracts it also can be required. 
  • It protects the safety of employees, especially in industries such as construction where drug-abuse can impact the safety of employees around them. 
    • Unintentional overdoses from nonmedical use of drugs accounted for 388 workplace deaths in 2020. The number of fatal workplace overdoses increased in each of the last 8 years. The number in 2020 was the highest since these data began in 2011. Unintentional overdoses from nonmedical use of drugs include overdoses from stimulants such as methamphetamine and from narcotics such as fentanyl (Bureau of Labor).

NYS occupational injury rate below national average

Private industry employers reported 6,200 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in Alaska in 2021, resulting in an incidence rate of 3.3 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that Alaska was among 19 states that had an incidence rate of total recordable cases (TRC) significantly greater than the national rate of 2.7.

Table 2. Numbers of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by selected industries and case types, Alaska, 2021 (numbers in thousands)

MedPhysicals Plus’ primary goal is to help employers create a safe and drug-free workplace by screening out candidates who use drugs. MedPhysicals offers a range of drug-testing options, including urine, blood, and hair tests, and ensures that all tests are conducted in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. MedPhysicals’ services are particularly beneficial for employers in safety-sensitive industries such as transportation and healthcare, where impairment due to drugs or alcohol could have serious consequences. By working with MedPhysicals, employers can ensure that their hiring process is thorough and that they are hiring candidates who are physically and mentally fit for the job.