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Drug Testing News
More employers test
for drugs while more candidates fail tests
Posted on Tue, Jul. 22, 2003
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The number of employers requiring drug
screens for potential workers is rising as companies try to
meet federal workplace rules and limit their liability,
according to company officials and testing firms.
And, the number of tests turning up positive for drug use also
In 1988, the Drug Free Workplace Act mandated that all federal
agencies and any business recipients of federal grant money or
contracts be drug-free. Since then, drug-testing company
officials say they've seen an increase in employers requesting
"It's becoming an acceptable part of the hiring process," said
Dr. Robert Bennett, who owns a testing facility in Charleston.
Drumm Enterprises Inc., of Greenville, has had a 50 percent
increase in businesses requesting pre-employment drug screens,
said Cheryl Lunn, occupational health coordinator.
At the same time, the company has had a 40 percent increase in
the number of pre-employment positive tests, Lunn said. Drumm
processes 150 to 200 samples each month for Upstate employers.
Most tests look for five substances: marijuana, cocaine, PCP,
opiates and amphetamines, Lunn said.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees make up the bulk of
new testing requests, Lunn said. Pest control companies, water
carriers and landscapers are all on the list of new clients.
Smaller companies, especially contractors, are beginning to
test for drugs to comply with the policies of larger companies
they contract with, she said.
Some large corporations receive discounts on liability
insurance and workers' compensation if they drug-test their
employees, Lunn said.
Several large Upstate companies test potential workers for
drugs before hiring.
All potential BMW Manufacturing Corp. employees must submit
hair for drug screens, said spokeswoman Bunny Richardson.
Michelin has tested all job candidates since 1985, said Andy
Delscamp, manager of community relations. Once employed, each
of the company's 4,300 employees is subject to random drug
testing and employees involved in safety-related issues are
given a drug test within hours of any incident, Delscamp said.
"We need everyone to be fully cognizant, fully capable and
operating with the best judgment they can at all times," he
said. "In an manufacturing environment, safety is our No. 1
The Greenville Hospital System began drug-testing its
employees seven years ago, said human resources vice president
"You can't have 7,500 employees and not have some low
percentage of the population with a substance abuse problem,"
he said. "We wanted to keep that at an absolute minimum."