On Tuesday, November 4, 2020, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize the possession of hard drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and Oxycodone. Individuals will be given the option of paying a $100 fine or attending an established addiction treatment program funded by Oregon’s legalized, regulated marijuana industry. Measure 110 does NOT legalize hard drugs but rather reduces possession to a non-criminal offense.
Although this might help individuals better receive the help they need, it’s vital that employers understand the new law and how it may impact those entering their workforce. Measure 110 is effective 30 days following Tuesday’s ruling, but changes to punishments do not take effect until February 1, 2021. Additionally, addiction recovery centers have an availability deadline of October 1, 2021.
Since Measure 110 prevents the possession of hard drugs from being a criminal offense, building and implementing a sound employment screening program is pertinent to ensuring a safe workplace. Hard drugs still remain ILLEGAL in Oregon, and the lessened offenses might decrease an individual’s deterrence from using drugs in the first place. One in ten Oregonians struggles with substance use disorder. With drug testing positivity cases on the rise nationwide due to the pandemic, numbers are only expected to continue to increase.
It is imperative that employers with employees in Oregon must communicate their organization’s drug testing requirements and reiterate that these drugs are still illegal. Confusion from employees who now believe these drugs are okay to take WILL cause positive drug tests in the near future. By effectively communicating company policies and procedures, employers can help secure a drug-free working environment. A clear and concise drug testing policy will help to set workplace standards, avoiding litigation. Additionally, in states where marijuana is legal, implementing a Medical Disclosure Policy will require employees to disclose their medical prescriptions that could cause impairment on the job. Proper training and education also play a vital role in ensuring a safe working environment. As added protection after pre-employment testing, reasonable suspicion drug testing and training can be included in an employer’s drug testing policy.
As your trusted third-party administrator (TPA), DISA can assist you with creating and maintaining a comprehensive employee screening policy. As drug laws continue to change statewide and nationwide, it’s vital employers stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest changes to help ensure their workplace remains in compliance while continuing to enhance safety. DISA focuses on helping employers build a culture of safety in their workplaces and has the experts who can help. DISA’s professionals can help employers navigate the complexities that new drug laws bring as they continue to change nationwide, ensuring you meet and maintain compliance, especially in safety-sensitive industries.
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About DISA Global Solutions
Founded in 1987, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.