Drug Test Rate Cut to 25%

Posted On 10th January 2016

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The rate of random drug testing for employees in the United States will be cut to 25 percent next year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today.

This change is being made in response to feedback from employers, who have said that the current 50 percent rate is too high and results in too many false positives. The new rate will take effect on January 1, 2020.

"We believe this change strikes the right balance between ensuring a safe and healthy workforce while minimizing the burden on employers," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "We will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that our drug testing policies are effective and efficient."

The announcement came as part of a larger package of proposed changes to the HHS drug testing regulations, which were first issued in 1988. Other proposed changes include:

- Allowing employers to test for synthetic cannabinoids (also known as "spice" or "K2") in addition to marijuana;

- Eliminating the requirement that employers have a reasonable suspicion of drug use before testing an employee; and

- Permitting employers to use hair testing as an alternative to urine testing.

The public comment period on the proposed changes will be open until December 3, 2019. After that, the HHS will finalize the changes and issue final regulations.

What do you think of this proposed change? Do you think it strikes the right balance? Let us know in the comments.