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Q: Prescription Drug ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Prescription Drug
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: jillybean29-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 11 Aug 2004 21:23 PDT
Expires: 10 Sep 2004 21:23 PDT
Question ID: 386782
I am prescribed 20 mg of Diazepam each day (more, if needed, per the
doc) and am in line for a drug test within the next two weeks.  Will
this effect my job offer?  Do I disclose this information to the
physician who will take the test? And must my employer know the
outcome of a legal prescription showing up on my test?
Subject: Re: Prescription Drug
Answered By: ephraim-ga on 11 Aug 2004 22:27 PDT

First, please be aware that Google Answers is not a substitute for
medical or legal advice. I am neither a doctor nor a lawyer. My job is
only to point you at resources and information that may guide you in
your search. If you have real medical or legal concerns about the drug
test that your employer requires, then I advise you to contact a
doctor and/or lawyer who specializes in these types of issues.

According to [
], Diazepam is "used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and muscle
spasms. It may also be used to treat seizures, insomnia, and other
conditions as determined by your doctor...DO NOT DRIVE, OPERATE
how you react to this medicine." I will come back to why this might be
relevant later.

Your question gives no detail about your locality. One legal website [ ]
explains that "States have differing laws regarding drug tests.
Generally, drug testing is permitted for applicants for all types of
jobs, even jobs that are not 'safety sensitive.'" So, you will need to
find out how drug testing laws apply to your specific state. [
] has this to say about drug testing: "The laws on drug testing vary
widely from state to state. Some states allow them only for jobs
involving public safety; some states allow them only for drivers; some
states allow them for any occupation; some states don't allow them at
all. Before requiring an applicant to take a drug test, consult with
your state department of labor to learn about the rules in your state.
Regardless of what your state law has to say on the subject, the
Americans with Disabilities Act forbids you from testing an applicant
until after you have made a conditional offer of employment."

For more information on how the ADA may affect pre-emplyment testing,
please see another answer which I worked on at [ ]. While this
answer specifically dealt with psychological tests, much of the
information I provided about the ADA might also apply to you,
especially if you are taking this medication to treat a mental

LegalMatch [
] describes situations where employers may desire to use drug tests:

"Many employees feel that drug tests are invasive. Some state laws,
and the Americans with Disabilities Act place restrictions on when an
employer may test an employee for drugs and what questions an employer
may ask an employee regarding drug use. An employment attorney would
best be able to help an employee or employer determine what questions
or tests are appropriate under these laws.

    * Job Applicant - Generally, employers may require job applicants
to submit to drug tests.
    * Continuing Employees - Generally, employers cannot require
employees to submit to drug tests.
    * High Risk Job - If the employer demonstrates that the job
carries a high risk of injury, like a transportation job, the employer
may require random drug tests.
    * Employer believe the employee is intoxicated - An employer may
also require a drug test if the employer reasonably believes that an
employee is impaired while on the job."

According to the description on, the drug which you are
taking may cause drowsiness and may not be suitable if used while
operating dangerous equipment, which might fit the case of the "high
risk job" described on the LegalMatch site. This may or may not be
relevant to your job description. Please consult a real employment
lawyer if you feel this might be a concern.

This page [
] about Epilepsy and drug tests may provide the most relevant
information to your situation: "Drug tests are not considered medical
examinations under the ADA and are thus permitted at any stage of the
application process (pre or post offer). However, an employer cannot
use the results of a drug test to discriminate against individuals on
the basis of disability. The EEOC's regulation emphasizes that if the
results of a drug test 'reveal information about an individual's
medical condition beyond whether the individual is currently engaging
in the illegal use of drugs, the additional information is to be
treated as a confidential medical record.'"

Finally, Employment Screening Resources [ ] explains that the
type of drug screening done by employers differs widely. Some tests
will only check for the presence of street drugs like Marijuana and
Cocaine. Others may check for legal prescription drugs as well. Since
I have no information about the type of test your employer will give,
I cannot speculate on whether or not the test will pick up on your
medication. This web page also says that "In the case of a positive
result, the officer will normally contact the applicant to determine
if there is a medical explanation."

What I can gather from all of the above information that I have posted
here, is that drug tests are not generally considered medical tests
UNLESS they discover medication prescribed by a doctor for a real
medical purpose. If this is the case, then the ADA may become
relevant, and you may be protected under that law.

I have been required to take drug tests in the past, and prior to the
test, the applicant is usually given a questionaire which includes
questions about all medication that the applicant is currently taking.
Since I have no way of knowing whether or not your drug test will
specifically test for Diazepam as a controlled substance, it is
probably a good idea to write on the form that you are taking this
medication under a doctor's orders. (Again, let me remind you that I
am not a lawyer, and if you want a definitive answer on this, you
should probably consult one.)

From my reading of the documentation provided, I suspect that your
employer is not permitted to know the intricate details of your
medical history, even if they are revealed through a drug test. If in
doubt about this, ask if they have a written policy on this subject.
In any case, were they to refuse you employment as a result of a
medical condition discovered by the test that had no relevance to your
job, I suspect they would be liable under the ADA.

Search Strategy:

employment + drug + tests + { law OR laws }
[ ://

I hope this helps you!

Subject: Re: Prescription Drug
From: arsenic-ga on 12 Aug 2004 05:08 PDT
All common drug tests look for benzodiazepines, the chemical group
where diazepam belongs. Take the prescription with you, and be honest
on your questionaire, and everything should be fine.
Subject: Re: Prescription Drug
From: theboyzmom-ga on 13 Aug 2004 02:03 PDT
I agree - disclosure is the best plan as it will show up. Now if the
job involves heavy equipment or driving it could be a problem as there
are specific rules but the USA gov and most local units about this
issue. If it not a job where sedation could be a problem, you should
be ok.

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