Drug/Alcohol Test Policy & Procedures


It is the policy of the University of Arizona College of Nursing (CON) that students are functioning free from the influence of illicit or illegal substances. The use of controlled substances (unless prescribed by a clinician), marijuana (including medical marijuana) or illegal substances is prohibited by the College of Nursing. This policy is intended to delineate drug/alcohol testing requirements and disciplinary sanctions of the University of Arizona College of Nursing.

Students are expected to comply with all federal, state and local laws and all rules/regulations concerning drug and alcohol use, including rules, policies and procedures of the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, the College of Nursing and individual clinical partner sites at which the students are assigned.


The CON requires a drug/alcohol test for full admission and to participate in all clinical programs. Students may be required to complete additional drug/alcohol tests to meet the compliance standard of specific clinical site partners. Students who fail to comply with all aspects of this policy, including refusing to test for any reason at any time, will be denied admission to and/or dismissed from the program and/or College of Nursing.

Protocol & Implementation

Students required to complete a drug/alcohol test must:

  • Order the drug/alcohol test through the CON’s designated clinical compliance system or clinical site, if applicable.
  • Complete the drug/alcohol test via urine sample.
  • Pay all drug/alcohol test fees.
  • Have drug/alcohol test results consistent with CON policies recorded and visible in the designated compliance system by the published deadline.

The drug/alcohol test screens for the following substances:

  • Alcohol/Ethanol (use of this substance is permitted, unless detected in “For Cause” Testing)
  • Amphetamine (Methamphetamine)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone
  • Opiates (Codeine & Morphine)
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Propoxyphene
  • Phencyclidine


  • Students whose drug/alcohol test results are negative may proceed with their admission, clinical placement, and program of study.
  • • Students whose drug/alcohol test results are positive, will be contacted by the CastleBranch Medical Review Officer (MRO).
    • Students using prescription medications that may result in a positive drug/alcohol test are advised to be prepared to provide the MRO prescriptions and/or a doctor’s note for review.
    • The MRO will interpret the results and discuss the results with the designated CON representative to determine if the results are consistent with the CON policies.
    • If it is determined the results are not consistent with the CON policies the student will be denied admission to the program and/or will be dismissed from their clinical placement, program, and college.
  • Students whose drug/alcohol test results are inconclusive, regardless of the cause, are required to retest at their own expense since inconclusive test results are not consistent with CON policies.
    • Inconclusive test results may include results such as dilute negative, dilute positive, cancel, invalid, rejected, interference, and more.
    • Retesting is only permitted after an inconclusive test result is recorded and visible in the designated compliance system.
      • Retesting is permitted after inconclusive test results, no matter how many inconclusive test results have previously been recorded.
      • If a student receives any test results other than inconclusive, the policy will be enforced as detailed above.

“For Cause” Testing

This policy refers to the use/misuse of, or being under the influence of: alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, or drugs that impair judgment while on duty in any healthcare facility, school, institution, or other work location as a representative of the CON. Students in the CON are expected to adhere to the American Nurses’ Association’s Code of Ethics, which includes safeguarding the patient from harm.

CON students may be subject to “for cause” testing at any time at the discretion of the clinical site, faculty member or preceptor. “For Cause” Testing may occur when:

  1. A clinical supervisor or faculty perceives the odor of alcohol or observes behavior such as, but not limited to, slurred speech, unsteady gait, or confusion and
  2. These behaviors cause the faculty or clinical instructor to suspect the student is impaired by alcohol or drugs.

In all circumstance, site-specific safety protocols must be followed. Additionally:

  • The preceptor/clinical supervising faculty will remove the student from the patient care or assigned work area and notify the clinical agency supervising personnel and CON Clinical Compliance Coordinator(s).
  • If a student admits to alcohol or drug use, they will still require drug screening within 48-hours.
  • If the results of the test(s) are negative for alcohol, marijuana, illegal substances, or non-prescribed legal substances, the student shall meet with a representative from the CON within 24 hours of the test results to discuss the circumstances surrounding the impaired clinical behavior.
    • If the indicator was the odor of alcohol, the student will be mandated to discontinue the use of whatever may have caused the alcohol-like odor before being allowed to return to the clinical setting.
    • If the indicator was behavioral, consideration must be given to a possible medical condition being responsible for the symptoms. A medical referral for evaluation may be indicated.
    • Based on the information provided and, if warranted, further medical evaluations, the College of Nursing will make a decision regarding the return to the clinical setting.
  • If the results of the test(s) are positive for alcohol, marijuana, illegal substances, or non-prescribed legal substances the student will be dismissed from their program and the CON immediately.
  • If a student refuses “For Cause” Testing, the preceptor/clinical supervising faculty will remove the student from the clinical setting pending a full investigation.
  • Students who hold license as a CNA, LPN or RN have an obligation to self-report under Arizona law (A.R.S. § 32-3208) and will face legal and disciplinary action as dictated by the law and respective licensing entities.

Last Revised

January 31st, 2023