drugfree workplace

At Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge



Alcohol & Drug Use Policy

Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge is committed to an environment that is safe and healthy for patients, residents, Phifer Wellness Center members, care team members, physicians, visitors and others. The unlawful or unauthorized use, possession, concealment, manufacture or sale of controlled substances by any care team member is inconsistent with this commitment and with BRHC’s values, standards of behavior, mission, vision, the expectations of our customers and the laws of the land. Such behaviors subject everyone in the system to unacceptable risks and compromise BRHC’s ability to operate safely, effectively and efficiently. BRHC is, therefore, committed to maintaining a workplace where care team members are free from impairment caused by drugs and alcohol whether on the job or in any BRHC facility, vehicles or on the grounds.


Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge shall be a drug and alcohol-free workplace, prohibiting the unlawful or unauthorized possession, use, manufacture, distribution or dispensing of alcohol, illegal drugs, controlled substances or other substances that adversely affect the performance of duties by care team members.


  • To enhance the safety of patients, residents, Phifer Wellness Center members, care team members, physicians, visitors and others.
  • To support the delivery of quality care and excellent service in a responsible, professional, efficient and effective manner.
  • To comply with local, state and federal laws and the requirements of accrediting and regulatory bodies.
  • To provide for scheduled and random drug and alcohol testing of BRHC employees.
  • To protect the property and reputation of the system as the cornerstone of healthcare delivery in the community.
  • To provide assistance toward rehabilitation for employees who self-report prior to being screened for substance abuse.


Alcohol: Any beverage sold or consumed that has an alcoholic content equal to or in excess of 0.5% by volume.

Illegal Drug: Any drug defined as illegal, under federal, state, or local laws which include, but are not limited to marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and amphetamines not prescribed for current personal treatment by a licensed physician with a valid DEA license

Illegal Drug Use: The detectable presence of an illegal drug or  unauthorized substance in an employee’s body

Possession: When an individual is found to have illegal drugs, inappropriate alcohol or controlled substances on his/her person or in his/her personal effects, motor vehicle, tools, equipment, desk, locker, files or work area under his/her control.

Post-accident Screening: Drug and alcohol testing performed in the event an employee sustains a work- related injury resulting from engaging in unsafe behaviors and either causes injury to co-workers, patients or the public or damages Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge property.


I. Reporting:

  1. Care team members shall be required to report anyone who may be in violation of this policy to management or Human Resources.
  2. Human Resources shall be consulted prior to any disciplinary action regarding this policy.
  3. All communications between involved staff regarding enforcement of this policy shall be handled confidentially and on a need-to-know basis. Breach of confidentiality and failure to report shall be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination.

II. Alcohol

  1. Alcoholic beverages shall be prohibited at all Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge facilities, unless part of a Social Function approved by Administration, as described below.
  2. Alcohol consumption or inappropriate possession is prohibited during work hours, including break and meal periods, and may result in termination.
  3. Reporting to, or being at work, under the influence of alcohol shall be prohibited and may result in termination.
  4. Employees arrested for or charged with an alleged alcohol incident shall immediately notify their supervisor/manager. DWI charges shall be regarded as a drug related charge. Failure to notify management may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
  5. The prohibited use or inappropriate possession of alcohol may be cause for termination and reporting, if indicated, to the appropriate professional licensing board.
  6. Refusal to cooperate with a search request or an alcohol test shall result in suspension and may result in termination of employment.

III. Illegal Drugs

A. The following activities may result in termination and possible criminal prosecution:

  1. The use, sale, or possession of illegal drugs.
  2. The abuse of legal drugs (prescription or over-the-counter medications) while on the job, including break and meal periods.
  3. Drug diversion.

B. Any illegal drugs found shall be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

C. Any drug conviction and/or the possession of illegal drugs off Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge property shall be treated as a positive drug test and may result in termination.

D. The use, sale, trade or delivery of an illegal drug or unlawful or unauthorized controlled substance may be cause for termination, reporting, if indicated, to the appropriate professional licensing board, and referral to law enforcement authorities.

E. The occasional recreational or off-duty use of illegal drugs shall implicate the policy.

F. Refusal to cooperate with a search request or drug test may result in termination of employment.

IV. Use of Prescription or Over-the-Counter Drugs:

  • It shall be an employee’s responsibility to inquire as to the effects of their prescribed or over-the-counter medication.
  • If it is determined that the use of a legal drug may adversely affect an employee’s ability to safely or effectively perform his/her job, Human Resources, Employee Health and the employee’s manager shall collaborate regarding work assignments.
  • Employees failing to report such use may be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination, if unable to perform job responsibilities and the employee has not indicated a need for accommodation.

V. On-call Employees

  • On-call care team members shall be fit for work at all times when they report to work, directly or indirectly.
  • If under the influence of alcohol or any other impairing substance, on call employees shall inform their supervisor when contacted to report for work. If an employee is not fit for work, the employee’s unavailability shall be documented and may result in disciplinary action.
  • On call team members shall be held to the same standards and policies as other employees on duty.

VI. Social Functions:

  • The serving of any alcoholic beverage at an off-duty system-sponsored event shall be approved by Administration.
  • Alcohol consumption at an authorized, off-duty system-sponsored event shall not be deemed a violation of this policy.
  • Attendees not of legal drinking age shall not be permitted to possess, serve or consume alcoholic beverages on any BRHC property.
  • The possession of alcohol when purchased on behalf of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge for an authorized function, or possession of alcohol being transported for authorized social functions shall not be prohibited, provided such possession is in compliance with state and local laws.

VII.Testing Procedures 

A.  Drug and/or alcohol tests may be conducted:

1. Post Job Offer 

  • An applicant shall consent to screening and provide a specimen that tests negative for the presence of illegal drugs, unauthorized or inappropriate use of legal drugs, alcohol or any other impairing substance.
  • Employment shall be denied if a positive test is confirmed or if there is a drug-related conviction within the previous five (5) years.
  • Employment may be denied if there is a record of a DWI conviction.
  • Employee Health shall retain testing result reports for applicants.

2. Periodic Random Screening

  1. Care team members may be randomly selected for a routine drug/alcohol screening.
  2. Employment may be terminated if an individual produces an adulterated sample or tests positive.
  3. Care team members shall be asked to cooperate with a reasonable request for drug/alcohol testing. The “reasonable suspicion” testing situations identified below require the use of substantial judgment. To insure the rights of all employees are considered, Human Resources and/or Administrative approval must be obtained prior to conducting “reasonable suspicion” tests. If an employee refuses to cooperate with a search request, an alcohol or drug test, or with any other reasonable request associated with this procedure, the implications of refusal are carefully explained to the employee. Refusal to cooperate in the testing procedure shall result in termination of employment.
  4. If a violation of this policy is suspected, Human Resources is contacted and the employee shall be asked to admit or deny drug/alcohol use. If use is denied but still suspected, the employee is tested. Management arranges transportation to Grace Hospital or Valdese Hospital laboratory if needed. Human Resources is contacted if management staff is not available. The employee may be suspended pending further investigation and results of testing.
  5. Reasonable Suspicion of drug/alcohol use includes, but is not limited to:
  • Suspicion of the use or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol.
  • A care team member’s department head or administrative representative has reason to believe that the employee is unfit to perform his/her job
  • As part of an investigation involving a work-related accident or “near accident” in which safety precautions were violated and/or careless acts were performed
  • A care team member’s work record indicates a history of significant accidents
  • There is a pattern of reported accidents in a particular unit or work
  • As part of an investigation for diversion of drugs

3. Post-Accident Screenings

  • In the event a care team members sustains a work related injury, the employee shall also be required to complete a post-accident drug and alcohol screen at the time treatment is being rendered in a Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge facility if any of the following conditions applies:
    • Damage to Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge property or equipment in an amount reasonably estimated at the time of the accident to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00). If unsure of the property value, consult with your chain of management.
    • Work related accident causes injury to co-workers, patients or the public.
    • The care team member was observed engaging in unsafe acts, which created a potentially hazardous situation for the employee, co-workers, patients or the public.
    • Motor vehicle accidents involving Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge employees operating Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge owned vehicles.

VIII. General Guidelines:

  • Human Resources shall distribute the Alcohol and Drug policy and schedules all screening.
  • Testing shall be conducted to detect prohibited drug and alcohol use.
  • Drug testing may include analysis for marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, cocaine and other drugs as directed by the Medical Review Officer, Human Resources, department management or appointed designee in consultation with an Employee Health representative.
  • Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge hospitals’ laboratory shall conduct screening procedures according to their established protocol. The Medical Review Officer, in consultation with Human Resources (Employee Health), reviews positive results.
  • An individual screened shall be considered positive if that test result indicates the presence of illegal drugs or abuse of legal drugs or alcohol. If the test results indicate an adulterant (interfering substances), this shall be considered a refusal to test and will be treated as a positive.
  • If drug screen cannot be deemed negative, the chain of custody sample shall be sent to an outside certified laboratory for processing. Preliminary results shall be sent in a confidential envelope to Employee Health and final results are sent in the same manner upon receipt from outside laboratory.
  • If drug screen is negative, results shall be sent to Employee Health in a confidential envelope by the next business day.

IX. Employee Assistance Program (EAP):

  • Any employee who believes that he/she has developed an addiction to, a dependence on, or a problem with alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal, shall be expected to immediately seek confidential assistance through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
  • Under certain specific conditions, employees may voluntarily seek treatment through the EAP without sustaining the equivalent of a positive drug test on their record.
  • If an alcohol/drug test has been initiated as a result of random selection or “reasonable suspicion” prior to the care team member’s contacting of the EAP, the employee shall be expected to cooperate with the test and accept any resulting disciplinary action, consistent with policy.