Oregon employers warn that the state has run out of workers who can pass a drug test

It’s funny cuz its true. Though I am at least in a design field, technically.


I’d love to buy this Picasso for $100 million, but first confirm to me that he had a BFA.


I present literally the least accurate conclusion to draw from this:

However it is possible that these anecdotal reports reflect a broader increase in drug usage that would be both an economic and societal problem.


Well, yes and no. As I said, subsequent interviews and work history are what really determines any disciplinary action taken. And remember, an “incident” may be one that doesn’t involve anyone getting hurt. It could be an operational error that led to quality issues or environmental issues. Usually I’m looking for the underlying cause of the incident to see if there’s something I can do to fix it. One of the things I thoroughly believe is that management is responsible for 85% of workplace incidents (as taught by Juran and Deming). Therefore, I have to make damn sure I’m doing everything I can to make the system work properly for a safety, quality, cost effective, and environmental aspect. If an employee is having new, small issues or their demeanor suddenly changes, I usually try to get them to take some time off to get their life in order. That’s what we work for in the first place.


they can’t fill vacancies because every qualified candidate fails their drug test,

Well there’s your problem right there, either someone is qualified or they aren’t. If the test disqualifies you then either the test is invalid since you’ve already established qualifications or the test is part of the qualifications in which case you are now disqualifying some people for doing things that are perfectly legal.

From what I read though it sounds like they don’t really have a clue why they’re not filling vacancies.


Here’s a thought

toss out the drug testing for weed.


We have had this discussion at my company - we are distributed all over the US and have people who live in CO, OR, WA, and NV and our consultants (including me) are often asked to take background and drug tests by clients (usually for financial services industry clients). The folks who live in states where weed is legal have argued that they shouldn’t be disadvantaged for doing something perfectly legal where they live. For now, we just give them ample warning, but it is an issue more companies are going to have to deal with.


This is interesting. The jobs report that came out today said that while the market is tight, wages are not going up as they should in such a tight market. The report pointed to people not being willing to change jobs as part of the problem of employee scarcity not pushing up wages. I wonder if the reason that people are not changing jobs as much as they used to is because they know that they will not be able to pass a drug test at the new employer and hence they are stuck in their current jobs.


Agreed and I think it’s time to deal with the issue just like we deal with alcohol. Having had a drink the night before does not disqualify you from employment.


Eh, depends on the job. No way I survived five years as a mover without copious amounts of weed. Fortunately being stoned was for all intents and purposes company policy- “safety meetings.”

ETA: or vice versa, when I worked as a carpenter I absolutely never smoked.


In celebration of this news, I believe that tonight I’m going to go home and get high. Not because I particularly want to. I just feel that it’s my duty to show solidarity with my neighbors to the northwest.


Sure it is job dependent…the last thing I need is for a fellow coworker to have blazed up before coming into work where they will be moving 10,000lb parts around with a crane. As far as a job requiring a drug test, mine absolutely does, plus randoms, plus after an incident.

The issue here is that there is no test to determine your level of impairment. Sure we can tell if you have smoked, but there is a good chance you are no longer under the influence. Until a test becomes available to fix that issue I don’t see marijuana becoming federally legalized.


The solution is to get rid of pre-employment drug tests entirely. They’re a form of classist oppression.


You’re coming at this from the wrong direction. The problem isn’t that we can’t tell how impaired someone is, it’s that impairment is not easily quantified with something like a BAC number. A field sobriety test of a stoned person is a dead simple thing to come up with and administer, and it would be very effective at identifying people who are actually impaired. That doesn’t sit super well with law enforcement and the judicial system, however, because they don’t want a test that has any measure of subjectivity to it. A person with a very high tolerance could have a higher “reading” but still be substantially less impaired. This is true of alcohol as well, albeit with less ambiguity–alcohol is a GABAnergic which is neurochemically way less complicated than THC or CBD so while breathalyzers exist primarily to aid in highly profitable DUI charges, their readings actually have some relationship with reality.

That, and even in states where it’s legal, there’s still several decades of demonization and highly unrealistic representations of the drug floating around in peoples’ heads.

Testing whether a person has done drugs at some point in the past isn’t very useful, and it disproportionately punishes cannabis users since a lot of the stuff that’s seriously problematic is water soluble and doesn’t stay in your body very long. Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol, and its effects are much shorter lived, but because THC is fat soluble instead of water soluble it can show up in a drug test for weeks or even months after the fact.

Your job shouldn’t require a test. If you fuck up at work, sure, but pre-employment and random tests are an invasion of privacy–if your employer tested you randomly to see if you’d drank or smoked tobacco the night before, people would lose their goddamned minds over it.

If it’s legal to do, and you’re doing it outside of work, it’s none of their damned business, really. Unfortunately, as of my last check, there are only two states that specifically protect this… and a bunch of others that specifically protect the “right” of employers to tell people how to vote, who they can and can’t donate money to, and to fire people if they think they’re supporting political causes that are in conflict with the company as a whole.


It’ll stay open until (a) they raise the salary offer or (b) after enough time goes by, they discover that having this position vacant is not seriously affecting their operations.


In contrast, cannabis metabolites are detectable for more than a month. And, of course, alcohol is tested to BAV rather than “detectable.”

In Arizona, you’re prosecutable for “driving while impaired” to that “detectable” standard. Just in case you were considering driving across that particular State.


That’s what happened with the Graphic Designer position we were trying to fill. Due to a dearth of qualified applicants (and no, my company doesn’t pay well, so our crop was far from cream), and an absolute necessity to stay on top of production, I improved our process to the point where the position is no longer needed. If we had another person we would spend half of the month twiddling our thumbs.

There’s one possible problem. If something happens to either me, or our other designer, things will go bad fast. I’ve pointed that out to the owner and the operations manager, and nothing much has come of it.

Oh well. Fingers crossed.


This seems like it would be a much more alarming problem if they were running out of unimpaired workers.

The cheap tests don’t always bother; because it’s cheaper that way; but thanks to Team Analytical Chemistry and various fun metabolite half-life facts you can detect a druggy down to impressively low thresholds; and in the case of stuff that gets incorporated into keratin out to a fair period of time.

The harder you do that the less interesting the test is as a proxy for what you should actually be concerned about(especially if a given drug habit is now too cheap and legal to be blackmail material or a likely precursor to wacky embezzling).

This isn’t to say that it’s never a problem; but drug tests(notably unlike, say, the techniques mostly not deployed to catch alcoholics or people with sleep patterns that leave them operating well below capacity during a chunk of working hours; which tend to be crude and mostly behavior based) are easily sensitive enough that they no longer tell you too much of use about how impaired your employees are; rather than what they may have done at some point in the past month.

And, as always, there’s the “in the parts of the economy that aren’t labor we tend to note that most shortages can be ameliorated by just paying more…” issue.

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Well, let’s see. Alcohol is tested to see if you’re below the legal limit at the time of the test; cocaine, opiates, amphetamines are looking for metabolites that last 1-3 days, but THC is tested not for its presence, but for antibodies, which for a regular user can be present for 3 months or more. Now, why is that? Couldn’t be anything racist, could it? Just change the test to a 3 day type like for every other drug and the problem goes away. Just because you can detect what someone decided to do 100 days ago doesn’t meant you should.