Pre-placement Substance Abuse Screening Policy

Policy Statement

All Duke University Health System (DUHS) staff will be screened for the presence of illegal drugs. Selected university positions require substance abuse screening based on federal, state or institutional regulation. Testing will occur through the use of urine (drug) screening. Staff who do not pass this screening will not be hired and are not eligible to reapply for hire for one year. If you are a new hire and refuse testing, you will not be employed. This includes staff who transfer from the university (including School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Duke Clinical Research Institute, and the Private Diagnostic Clinic) to DUHS who were not included in pre-placement drug testing at their time of hire.

Policy Details


Applicants will be notified that positions in DUHS and some positions in the university require pre-placement substance use screening. Departments will receive a reminder of the screening requirement each time they open a job requisition. When a department makes an employment offer, substance use screening for the prospective staff member must be scheduled with Employee Occupational Health and Wellness, as a condition of acceptance of that offer.

Processing of the hire may not take place until the substance use screening has been completed with satisfactory results. Upon a successful completion, EOHW will notify the Recruitment Office that the hire may proceed. An unsatisfactory test result (positive), will rescind the conditional offer of employment. This information will be communicated to the applicant by an EOHW health care professional and to the recruitment representative who will notify the department that an alternative candidate needs to be selected. It will take up to five calendar days to process the screening results.

Duke respects personal preferences for lifestyle and values of its staff. However, Duke is committed to maintaining a safe health care setting for patients and a safe workplace for staff members. Conduct on the job affects the services Duke provides for other staff, its patients and their families. Use of alcohol or drugs while at work, or impairment while at work, diminishes a person's ability to perform and may endanger his or her safety and the safety of coworkers.

See Duke's Substance Abuse Policy here.


Employee health and safety activities are governed by the Code of Ethics of the American Occupational and Environmental Medical Association. All information regarding pre-placement drug testing will be maintained confidentially with the following exceptions:

  • Pre-placement: The hiring department will be advised that the individual is "cleared for hire," "not cleared for hire" or "not eligible for re-hire for one year."
  • Federal or state law may require notification beyond that defined above. A trained medical review officer (MRO) will evaluate all "positive" drug tests prior to being reported as "positive."

Policy Number: 10.08


Workplace Health & Safety Policy