OPM's policy on drug testing
August 10, 2007 5:47 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking about applying for a job at the Federal Office of Personnel Management. They say they do drug screening, but no specifics are given. I've smoked pot one or twice recently and I am a bit concerned. Does anyone know what kind of testing (hair, urine, blood) they do? How do they feel about marijuana use? Do they do random testing once you get hired?

I plan on being honest about my drug use, so I'm not worried about a lie detector, just passing the test. I don't think I'll be tested for several months, but I want to know what to expect so that I can plan my future actions accordingly. I don't think it will be needed, but if any more information is necessary I can be reached at anonmefiuser@hotmail.com. Thank you for any information.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (14 answers total)
You might want to get one of those marijuana drug test passing kits. From what I understand they do actually work.
posted by delmoi at 6:07 AM on August 10, 2007

THis is somewhat independent of your question, but federal governmentt jobs take *forever* to process and hire. By the time they actually might end up doing an interview, it'll be way later.
posted by jare2003 at 6:12 AM on August 10, 2007

Federal offices test for drugs using urine tests, it's universal.

Apparently, a new rule regarding the testing of sweat/saliva was passed in 2004 but I haven't seen it in action.

Lie detector tests, if they are used, will not ask you about prior drug use. They are in place to "test" for prior terrorist ties and country loyalty. As for beating the drug test, good luck. Federal drug screening is easily the hardest to beat and I've NEVER heard of anyone doing it.
posted by hammerthyme at 6:34 AM on August 10, 2007

How do they feel about marijuana use?

They do not approve.
posted by smackfu at 6:50 AM on August 10, 2007

How do they feel about marijuana use?

This is pretty much all they test for. Quit smoking now and in one or two weeks, cut your hair very short to thwart hair tests.

Also: Join your local NORML chapter and someday people who smoke will not be treated as common criminals.
posted by unixrat at 7:24 AM on August 10, 2007

Federal agencies do not, as of yet, use hair tests.
posted by J-Train at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2007

I've been a Fed for 14 years and, although I had to sign a form consenting to random tests when I was hired, I've never once been tested. At my agency, new hires aren't tested either. Based on my conversations with other Feds, the only agencies that test routinely are law enforcement, defense/homeland security and military. YMMV, but I would be surprised to learn that OPM really tests.

Be honest about your past marijuana use and be sure to keep your answers consistent. Prior recreational use won't keep you from being hired, but different answers on different forms or verbal answers that are inconsistent with written answers will certainly put a wrench in the works.
posted by weebil at 7:39 AM on August 10, 2007

Seconding what weebil said. I've been a fed with Health & Human Services for 3 years, and I've never been tested, nor have any of my longer-serving co-workers.
posted by lagreen at 8:19 AM on August 10, 2007

Note weebil's mention of signing a consent form. I'm not sure what they'd do if you refused to sign (legally, they probably couldn't not hire you for that, but practically they probably could), but if you work for the government you can't be randomly drug tested without consenting, as it's considered a search without cause under the Fourth Amendment.
posted by awesomebrad at 8:33 AM on August 10, 2007

They can, and will refuse to hire you if you refuse to consent to drug testing, and it's perfectly legal. Awesomebrad is mistaken. We've had this fight on AskMe before. The Supreme Court ruled on this 18 years ago, and the Fourth Amendment lost. All federal employees are eligible for drug testing. In this particular case, I'm sure the OP's employers would argue that his access to sensitive personnel information means that they need to know whether he's a druggie who will sell people's social security numbers for a rock of crack. But the point is, they don't need to make an argument, because if he accepts the job, he has no right to refuse the test.
posted by decathecting at 8:56 AM on August 10, 2007

i have a close friend who had just gotten a new job. a big group of friends were hanging out the next afternoon, smoking way too much to celebrate his new job, when he got a call for a drug test for the job. he was not expecting it, the company wanted it to be a surprise. my friend had literally just put the bong down, and now had to take a urine test the next morning.

he went to a head shop in union city, nj, and purchased this product. he followed the directions of how to use the product, and next mornign took his test. two other new employees also took the test that morning. he passed just fine, the product apparently worked. at first, we were wondering if they had really tested for pot. could such a product really work? two weeks later, he heard that one of the other people that morning failed the test for pot, and lost the job.

honestly, i do not know for sure if the product works, but it sure seemed to work for my friend. i mean, he stoned out of his mind about 16 hours before the test, and he passed.
posted by Flood at 9:25 AM on August 10, 2007

oh, i suppose i should add that the test was a urine test
posted by Flood at 9:26 AM on August 10, 2007

Cutting your (head) hair short won't thwart a hair test. They'll just take a hair from somewhere else. I suppose you could get your whole body waxed, but it doesn't seem worth it...
posted by janell at 9:36 AM on August 10, 2007

i had military drug testing done. they asked me (10 years ago) whether or not i had done pot within the past 3 years. i said yes, and got a waiver, and had to sign something saying "i'd never do it again, i promise".

so it's probably not a big deal, as long as you're clean when you're tested. honestly, many of them don't give a shit.
posted by taumeson at 10:36 AM on August 10, 2007

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