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- Drug-Free Workplace Advisor

Please note: The Department of Labor ended the drug-free workplace program in 2010. Accordingly, it does not currently administer a “Workplace drug testing” advisory web page and is not responsible for the content of the linked sites.


Narcotic analgesics are the most effective compounds used for pain relief. Narcotic analgesics include Opium, Opiates (morphine, codeine, percodan, heroin and dilaudid) and Opioids (synthetic substitutes such as vicodin, darvon, demerol and methadone).


Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that is often followed by:

  • drowsiness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • constricted pupils
  • watery eyes and itching
  • low and shallow breathing
  • clammy skin
  • impaired respiration
  • convulsions
  • coma
  • possible death

Narcotics can be:

  • smoked or eaten, such as opium
  • injected, taken orally or smoked, such as morphine
  • inhaled, injected or smoked, such as heroin


  • Tolerance to narcotics develops rapidly and addiction is likely.
  • The use of contaminated syringes may result in diseases such as HIV/AIDS, endocarditis and hepatitis.
  • Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Opiates also are known as: heroin, smack, horse, brown sugar and black tar.


  • Employees who fall under Federal guidelines such as the Department of Transportation’s testing regulations are prohibited from using opiates without a current medical prescription.

  • Many employers also have work rules requiring the employee to disclose if they are taking any sedating medications that could impact their ability to work safely.

  • The addictive nature and cost can lead to workplace theft and/or dealing.

  • Mental clouding and drowsiness pose a fitness-for-duty concern.

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