Resignation in lieu of drug test? Is random testing the answer?

Nurses General Nursing


You are reading page 3 of Resignation in lieu of drug test? Is random testing the answer?

It's an invasion of privacy, and has been shown to not work very effectively to flush out addicts.

Quite the valid point.


1 Article; 2,675 Posts

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.
Lots of great discussion and good points being made here.

I can see the difficulty with random screenings. If someone had a poppy seed muffin, they might turn up positive.

I'm just trying to problem solve the drug/diverting problem in our profession. There are so many variables.

Do you all think we are being too soft on people? Too strict? The United States as a whole is incredibly dependent on mind altering drugs. I hate the thought of colleagues diverting for their own use.

1). Make rules that make diversion hard and HIRE ENOUGH STAFF TO MAKE THEM FEASIBLE!

(I worked in one place where all the remains of narcs and empty amps had to be collected in individual lockboxes before being sent to lab for verification. It worked so good that even some of the local staff who "had the problem" said so... and there were no silly sign-offs).

2). Legalize things that are already legal everywhere in civilized world. Yes, I was in Netherlands quite recently, nobody is dying there. I pretty much assure you.

3). Stop penalizing people for single positive probe, for whatever reason it happened.

4). Limit indications for prescribing drugs with high addictive potential!!!

5). Make workes' comp rules the same as they already are everywhere in the civilized world except America The Great. Do you know what will happen with a hospital CEO in the same Netherlands if one of their nurses tear her back moving 600 lbs? He'll pay her to the end of her life, that's what. And she will not be forced back to work tomorrow.

6). Make insurance paying full for OT, PT, aquatics, massage and every other chronic pain treatment modality. Yoga should not be elite entertainment for upper 10% of society.

7). Stop proliferationof the "addictive medicine/rehab" business.

That's it, I guess.


832 Posts

If you do drugs and fear getting tested, move up to Canada. They rules for when (or even if) they can test you are heavily in your favor.

I would think that anyone refusing to get tested is guilty of something. Might not be exactly what they are accused of doing, but these drug tests can reveal things that breach your personal-professional boundary.

Ellie G

186 Posts

Drug testing when there's a suspicion of diverting or working under the influence isn't random.

Pulling 10 names out of a hat and sending them to the lab to pee in a cup. THAT'S random.

It's an invasion of privacy, and has been shown to not work very effectively to flush out addicts.

they use random drug testing in the military. As a reservist, I knew they could come through the door at any time and test. No biggie to me. I had nothing to worry about.

Ellie G

186 Posts

Probably 1/3 of the Healthcare folks in my monitoring meeting are in for MJ use. It makes me feel bad about talking about "real addict" stuff. :/

Its still illegal in most states.

Specializes in ICU, Postpartum, Onc, PACU.

Not doing it is an admission of guilt from where I stand. If she had been, say, taking a norco before she went to sleep each night for back pain, she could've tested and told them she was taking it (she would have proof of the scrip). I don't know why you wouldn't submit to the testing, if asked in a case like this to prove your innocence, but I am against routinely random testing.

MJ stays in your system for a long time though, so I guess I could see her not wanting to be tested if she thought that would show up since nurses can't get cards for it (that I'm aware of).

That said, some hospitals are more lax than others and I don't know how they can all be so different. I found out after the fact that a nurse had been caught diverting an IV opiate (to the point of shooting up at work/while working) TWICE and they worked with her until she felt like she had to leave the hospital. I have no idea how that is allowed when someone else can just be suspected and get all these restrictions put on them and/or be terminated for it.

Doesn't seem fair, but unless your friend was on MJ or had taken it recently, I don't know why she wouldn't want to prove her innocence.


morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

My thought is that, wouldn't having random drug testing hanging over ones head deter nurses from even starting a habit? People don't start out addicted. They have to cross that line for the first time. Then the use gradually escalates into physical addiction.

I detest random drug testing as much as anyone. But, it's like a vaccine. We KNOW, statistically, that a certain percentage of nurses are prone to addiction if exposed to certain substances. We have to PREVENT the person from catching this disease that not everyone will be susceptible to. I found out after my surgery last year that I'm not prone to opiate addiction. But some people are, and it''s probably a genetic predisposition.

I would submit to random testing in order to prevent my colleagues from being exposed to substances that could trigger this disease in them.

no, RDS are not like a vaccine. persons don't think they are going to be caught, speeding drivers, right up to murders.

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

I have no problem with random drug testing at all, but it should be for cause. Is he/she slurring words, not able to concentrate, having erratic behavior etc? If this becomes a pattern, then I think drug testing is appropriate. Why worry about it if you're clean? It's just pee

what you describe is NOT random testing, just the opposite.

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts


We most certainly are our brother's and sister's keepers.


Specializes in Critical Care.

I think hospitals would like the right to random drug screen, but I don't think they'd actually do it because of the cost since money is the bottom line. I'm sure any suspicious incident or concern over an employee and they would drug screen.

I'm against random drug screens as an invasion of privacy. We are expected to give up so much for the great opportunity (sarcasm) of working as a nurse. I don't drink and I don't do drugs. But I would be concerned about a false positive and the damage that could do to one's reputation, not to mention the financial cost!

I'm tired of this mentality that nurses need to be controlled, forced to take vaccines, forced to move massively obese people without safe lifting equipment, etc, etc. What rights do we have? Do we give up all our rights over are own bodies and our right to be safe and not injured to be a nurse! It isn't right!

Random drug screening is just another move down the slippery slope of controlling nurses. I just wonder how working conditions would be if this was a male dominated job! I'm sure they wouldn't be accepting forced vaccinations and lack of safe lifting equipment!

Jensmom7, BSN, RN

1,907 Posts

Specializes in Hospice.
they use random drug testing in the military. As a reservist, I knew they could come through the door at any time and test. No biggie to me. I had nothing to worry about.

Neither do I. I don't smoke, don't drink, and the only time I take a controlled substance is when I have a valid prescription (and the most potent med I've ever had prescribed was Tylenol 3).

My point was that random drug testing very rarely does what it's supposed to do, which is catch abusers.

We are not our brother's keeper, but we are the patient's keeper. We are obligated to not show up under the influence at work.

I have no problem peeing in a cup or losing a few mLs of blood any time at work.

What makes you think someone who is diverting is showing up to work impaired? RDS goes beyond giving up a few drops of body fluids.

RDS means your employer can dictate that you submit to an invasive procedure because they suspect SOMEONE is diverted, not YOU, someone.

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