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Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing - July 2007 Revision

Note: This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in July 2007. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please refer to the current procedural directive.

Because substance abuse seriously endangers the safety of students and employees, the District has established this program to detect users and abusers of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances. The District is committed to preventing the use and/or presence of these substances in the work place.

Although this directive refers specifically to alcohol and drugs, it is intended to apply to all forms of substance abuse, including the misuse of legally prescribed drugs or the use, possession, distribution, or sale of illegal drugs or unprescribed controlled substances.

Definitions

  1. Motor Vehicle Accident:  Unintended occurrence involving collision between the District's vehicle and /or district-owned or other’s property which results in injury and/or damage to a vehicle or property.
  2. Alcohol:  The intoxicating agent in beverage alcohol, ethyl alcohol, or other low molecular weight alcohol, including methyl and isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Illegal Drugs:  A controlled substance as defined by the United States Code, the possession of which is unlawful.  The term "illegal drugs" does not mean the use of controlled substances pursuant to a valid prescription or other use authorized by law.
  4. Medical Review Officer:  The contractor responsible for receiving laboratory results generated from the Albuquerque Public Schools who is a licensed physician with knowledge of substance abuse disorders and the appropriate medical training to interpret and evaluate all positive test results together with an employee's biomedical information.  If the MRO verifies that the employee has a valid prescription that explains the positive drug test result the drug test result is reported as negative by the MRO.
  5. Reasonable Suspicion:  Reasonable suspicion may be found where a supervisor or district employee detects indicators of controlled substance use or alcohol abuse and has made observations regarding an employee that are specific, contemporaneous, and articulable, and relate to the employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, and/or body odors.  The observations relating to the alcohol testing must be made during, just preceding, or just after the period of the work day.
  6. Refusal to Submit to Testing:  Compliance with this directive is a requirement of continued employment.  Refusal to submit to testing will constitute a violation of this directive.  The following behavior constitutes a refusal:
    1. Refusal to submit to test.
    2. Inability to provide sufficient quantities of breath, blood or urine (whichever is required) to be tested without a valid medical explanation.
    3. Tampering with, diluting or attempting to adulterate the specimen or collection procedure.
    4. Not reporting to the collection site in the time allotted.
    5. Leaving the scene of an accident without a valid reason before the tests have been conducted.
    6. Submitting samples other than their own.
    7. Attempting to influence the collection/processing staff
  7. Work Place: Any location where the employee must be to carry on the duties of employment.

Testing for Drugs and Alcohol

  1. The District will utilize drug and alcohol testing for employees as follows:
    1. Applicants offered conditional employment as School Police Officers, civilian police positions with evidence handling responsibilities, and positions requiring a Commercial Drivers’ Licenses will be tested.
    2. Employees will be tested based upon reasonable suspicion.
    3. Employees will be tested following motor vehicle accidents involving district-owned vehicles.
    4. Employees who complete a rehabilitation program shall be tested periodically without notice for a set period as required by a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the District or by its designated medical provider.
    5. School Police Officers, civilian police positions with evidence handling responsibilities, drivers whose jobs require a Commercial Driver’s will be subject to random testing each month.  Random selections will be made by the District’s Medical Review Officer contractor.
  2. The District is responsible for the cost of all testing, including any post-offer, pre-employment drug testing, post-accident testing, and reasonable suspicion testing.
  3. If an employee's or applicant's test is positive for substance use, he/she has the right to request, in writing to the District, that the specimen be reanalyzed by an accredited independent agency to verify the validity of the results.  Costs for the review will be borne by the District.
  4. All positive test results are given to the Medical Review Officer and are strictly confidential with access limited to authorized staff.

Post-Offer, Pre-Employment Testing

Applicants for School Police Officer, police civilian positions with evidence handling responsibilities and for positions which require a Commercial Drivers License must report to a Concentra Medical Centers facility with photo identification.  The drug/alcohol test must be undertaken as soon as possible following the conditional offer of employment.  Applicants who refuse the pre-employment screen, or who have a confirmed positive screening, shall not be eligible for employment.  The District is responsible for the cost of any post-offer, pre-employment drug testing.

Post-Accident Testing

If an employee is involved in a motor vehicle accident in an APS vehicle, the employee must report the accident to their supervisor and will be required to report to the nearest Concentra Medical Centers facility with photo identification, accompanied by their supervisor, for alcohol/drug screening.

  1. Alcohol Testing
    The employee involved in the accident who is subject to testing shall make himself or herself available for testing for up to 8 hours and no alcohol shall be consumed by the driver for 8 hours or until an approved breath alcohol test is performed.  No breath alcohol test shall be performed after 8 hours from the time of the accident.
  2. Drug Testing
    A urine collection for drug testing shall be conducted no later than 32 hours from the time of the initial accident.  Refusal by the employee to take the required test(s) or a positive test result shall be grounds for the full range of disciplinary actions, including termination/discharge.

Random Testing

The district requires monthly random testing for School Police Officers, police civilian positions with evidence handling responsibilities, and employees whose positions require Commercial Drivers Licenses in accordance with District Policy and DOT regulations.  Employees selected for random monthly testing must report to the nearest Concentra Medical Centers facility within one hour of notification with photo identification.

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

All employees will be subject to reasonable suspicion drug testing.  A reasonable suspicion may be found where a supervisor or district employee detects indicators of controlled substance use or alcohol abuse and has made observations regarding an employee that are specific, contemporaneous, and articulable, and relate to the employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, and/or body odors.  The observations relating to the alcohol testing must be made during, just preceding, or just after the period of the work day.  An employee may be directed to take a reasonable suspicion controlled substance test only while the employee is performing, just before performing or just after performing his/her employment.

  1. Whenever there is reasonable suspicion on the part of the supervisor that an employee may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the supervisor must:
    1. Gather all information, facts, and circumstances leading to and supporting the suspicion.
    2. Confer with Human Resources and Risk Management Departments to determine if reasonable suspicion for a test exists.
    3. Prepare a written report detailing the circumstances which formed the basis to warrant the testing. The report should include the appropriate dates and times of reported drug/alcohol related incidents, reliable/credible sources of information, rationale leading to the test, and the action taken.
  2. Reasonable suspicion testing may be based upon, among other things:
    1. Observable phenomena, such as direct observation of drug/alcohol use or possession and/or the physical symptoms of being under the influence of drug/alcohol, or a pattern of abnormal or erratic behavior.
    2. Abnormal conduct or erratic behavior may include the following, which are not all inclusive:
      1. Abnormally dilated or constricted pupils
      2. Glazed stare - redness of eyes
      3. Change of speech (i.e. faster or slower)
      4. Constant sniffing
      5. Redness under nose
      6. Needle marks
      7. Change in personality
      8. Forgetfulness
      9. Constant fatigue or hyperactivity
      10. Smell of alcohol
      11. Slurred speech
      12. Difficulty walking
      13. Slowed reaction rate
      14. Dulled mental processes
    3. Information provided either by reliable and credible sources or independently corroborated; or newly discovered evidence that the employee has tampered with a previous drug/alcohol test.
    4. Although reasonable suspicion testing does not require certainty, mere "hunches" are not sufficient to meet this standard.
  3. If reasonable suspicion for a test has been verified by Human Resources and Risk Management, the employee will be required to immediately be taken to the nearest Concentra Medical Centers facility with photo identification and accompanied by a supervisor, for alcohol/drug screening.

Testing Process

The district contracts with an outside, independent testing laboratory for drug testing.  Laboratories must be Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) approved and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) certified.  Certified laboratories are required to follow DOT regulations and procedures in all of its collection and testing processes. This includes the following:

  1. A secure laboratory site with limited access to authorized personnel and approved security measures in place.
  2. The following of strict chain-of-custody guidelines that maintains control and accountability from the collection through the testing process.
  3. Both an initial screening test and a confirmation test are used. The confirmation test will be a Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).
  4. Both testing techniques will use the DOT-specified cutoff levels for all substances tested.
  5. Reporting of test results by the lab will be to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) for purposes of verification.
    1. The MRO will be a licensed physician with knowledge of substance abuse disorders.  The role of the MRO is to review and interpret confirmed positive test results and examine any medical explanations for the results.
    2. If the confirmed result is positive, the MRO will attempt to contact the applicant/employee, in confidence, to discuss the positive result. The MRO shall talk directly with the individual before verifying a positive result.  If the MRO is unable to contact the employee directly, the MRO will contact the designated official in Risk Management who will attempt to contact the individual.
  6. Verified test results will be reported to the Director of Risk Management.  The employee may request a copy of the test results.
  7. Within three (3) days of a verified positive test, the employee may request a confirmatory re-test of the original sample at their own expense.   The district will not consider results of tests on other samples.

Violations

  1. Violation of this directive will be grounds for disciplinary action subject to applicable New Mexico law, due process requirements, and/or any other applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
  2. Violations of this directive include, without limitation:
    1. Testing positive in a confirmed test;
    2. Refusing to submit to testing;
    3. Failing to adhere to a rehabilitation program required by the District or medical provider.
  3. A positive test for controlled substances will be in accordance with DOT-specified levels.  A positive test for alcohol consumption is an alcohol concentration of, or greater than 0.02%
  4. Disciplinary action cannot be avoided by a request at that time for treatment or rehabilitation.
  5. Employees will not be terminated for voluntarily seeking assistance for a substance abuse problem.  An employee who seeks such assistance may still be disciplined for other performance, attendance, or behavioral problems.  Any voluntary actions must occur before selection for drug or alcohol testing.
  6. Employees who seek assistance under this procedure must follow the steps below before being returned to service or allowed to continue work.
    1. Employees will be placed on leave and will be required to execute a written agreement which:
      1. Acknowledges that they violated this directive; and
      2. States that in exchange for the District not terminating them for violating this directive, they agree to undergo rehabilitation, counseling, or other activities prescribed by the District or licensed substance abuse professional medical provider.
    2. Employees will not be returned to work or be allowed to continue working until they have been evaluated by a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the District who certifies that, in his or her best judgment, the employee no longer uses drugs and/or other prohibited substances and may safely return to duty.
    3. Employees must then undergo additional periodic testing without notice for a set period as required by a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the District or by its designated medical provider.
    4. If, within 125 days of seeking assistance under this directive a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the District certifies that in his or her best judgment, the employee is not recovering from a drug or alcohol dependence, that the employee is currently using drugs and/or other prohibited substances, that the employee's involvement with drugs and/or other prohibited substances is an on-going problem, and that the employee may not safely return to duty, the District may terminate the employee, in accordance with New Mexico law, due process requirements, and/or other applicable laws or regulations.
  7. These procedures do not require and should not result in any special regulations, privileges, or exemptions from an employee's normal job performance requirements.
  8. The District is not responsible for the costs of rehabilitation.  The employee shall be responsible for all such costs.

NSBA/NEPN Classification: ECAE, GBEC

Cross Ref.:

Approved: April 2006
Revised: July 2007

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