Understanding Impairment vs. Under the Influence

Posted: September 10, 2019


In the workplace, there can often be confusion around the difference between impairment and under the influence.  

Because so many states are legalizing substances like marijuana for recreational purposes, and the continued use of alcohol and prescription medications, human resource professionals need to be continuously informed of the ongoing efforts to educate employers on these topics.  

When seeing the death toll percentages caused by over-abuse, it is important that human resource professionals react and create preventative measures in the workplace to stay consistent with the drug and alcohol industry best practices.

Defining Impairment & Under the Influence

When you hear “impairment,” it means that a person has consumed a drug or alcohol at a level that prevents them from functioning at their normal capacity. The individual’s psychological thoughts are jeopardized and may cause injury to themselves or others, which causes an unsafe work environment.

The phrase “under the influence” means that a person has consumed a drug or alcohol at a level that puts them under the influence of that drug or alcohol to some degree, but it may not be at a level that impairs them. 

Currently, there isn’t any device, technology or level terminology to determine marijuana impairment or under the influence. 

Nina M. French, Managing Partner with Current Consulting Group, began her career in the employee screening industry in 1992 and is a widely recognized expert in substance abuse testing. She recently released a podcast on the topic of impairment and under the influence. Click here to listen to the podcast and learn more about the difference between impairment and under the influence.

Contact Us

Info Cubic is here to help guide your organization find the best type of program(s) that fits your organization’s drug-free workplace policy. Contact our Drug Screening Business Coordinator at 877-360-4636 or click here to get the conversation started.