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NY workplace drug testing: how big a deal are prescription drugs?

Drug testing is a big issue for injured New York workers.  After an on-the-job accident, workers are suppose to be tested to make sure they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Workers caught with traces of alcohol or drugs like marijuana in their system can be denied workers’ comp benefits.

However, workers taking legal prescription drugs can also find themselves in hot water.  Workers taking opioid pain medications like hydrocodone have lost their jobs – even though some were taking the pain medication to help with back pain or other physical problems.

Some employers do not want workers to have any drugs in their system, especially opioids.  Workers, however, contend that they should be allowed to take prescription pain medication that is legal – especially if they are suffering pain from an on-the-job injury.

What isn’t clear is if employers have a legitimate reason to be worried about their employees using prescription drugs.  There is no legal limit for prescription drugs in a person’s bloodstream, as there is for alcohol, so arguing that a person could be impaired is very difficult.  In fact, it is unlikely that legally used painkillers – even opioids – would cause an employee to be unable to do his or her job.

If you feel you’re being unfairly punished because you were injured on the job but a drug test suggested that you were impaired, it may be in your best interest to speak with a lawyer.

Ask The Disability Guys

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