How to Create a Drug & Alcohol Screening Policy Guide


How to Create a Drug and Alcohol Screening Policy

The cornerstone of a Drug-Free Workplace is having a well thought out and comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Screening Policy that meets legal requirements, supports your organization hiring policies and needs, and fits with your organization’s culture. 

Legal Requirements

For an overview of best practices for complying with legal requirements, review 10 Steps for Avoiding Legal Problems.


At the Federal level, marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug which means it is illegal to possess.

Legal Marijuana—Medical or Recreational

As of May 2021, thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands have approved comprehensive, publicly available medical marijuana and cannabis programs. Fifteen states and Washington, DC, have legalized adult recreational use, and changes occur regularly regarding medical and recreational marijuana. Critically important in the development of any drug and alcohol screening policy are considerations regarding marijuana—medical or recreational. 

State marijuana laws must be considered for non-DOT policies. Depending on various state laws, companies must decide to test for marijuana or not. Companies must also consider whether they are going to make any accommodations for authorized medical marijuana cardholders. 

Employers in marijuana-friendly states are advised to practice caution when facing a positive marijuana test and potential action against an employee. It is recommended that an employer seek counsel from an informed state-specific attorney to learn how to respond to a positive test for marijuana that could have resulted from off-duty use.

Supports Your Organization Hiring Policies

It is very important to remember that your Drug Screening & Alcohol Testing program is part of your organization’s overall hiring process and must be written so that it aligns with your hiring strategies, practices and desired outcomes. As your hiring strategies evolve or change it is important to make sure that your Drug Screening & Alcohol Testing program is in lockstep with the evolution of your hiring. 

For example, it is not at all uncommon for organizations to loosen their DSAT standards when the job market is very tight, and it is a difficult to hire sufficient personnel.

Fits With Your Organization’s Culture

It is important for your employees to feel safe at work, but drug use poses the potential for accidents or injuries that could impact their safety. If employees are confident in your company’s policy toward illegal drugs, they are more likely to stay motivated through hard times.

Your employees deserve a safe workplace—and that starts with clear policies. Is it time you implemented a comprehensive, drug-free workplace policy? If so, do you now know where to start?

In this white paper, we will discuss how you can create such a policy for your company. And we will examine a drug and alcohol screening policy as one component of a drug-free workplace.


    Download: How to Create a Drug & Alcohol

    Screening Policy Guide


    Email to request more information about the
    the Annual Background Screening Resource Guide