Policy on Pre‐clerkship Drug Screening for Medical Students


The University of Virginia School of Medicine is committed to educating students to provide safe and effective patient care. Currently, all entering house staff, faculty and medical center staff are required to undergo a drug screen prior to beginning employment. In addition, many local, national, and international programs require students to complete a drug test prior to placement in clinical electives. This policy establishes procedures for pre-clerkship drug screening of all medical students prior to beginning their clinical clerkships.


All Medical Students will be required to undergo a pre‐clerkship drug screen. The screen will be performed through UVA WorkMed, following their usual procedures. The Medical Review Officer for WorkMed reviews all results to determine whether a student has passed or failed the drug test, and once confirmed, those results are released to the Office of Student Affairs. A positive drug screen may result in the dismissal of the student from the educational program. Additional drug screens may be required by some external clinical placement sites.


The following definitions shall apply for purposes of this policy only:

Clinical Clerkships: The required clinical experience in one of the seven core specialties (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery) completed by Medical Students.

Controlled Substance: A Drug or substance listed in Schedules I through VI of the Drug Control Act of Virginia (Code of Virginia, §§54.1‐3446 through 54.1‐3456 (1950), as amended) and Schedules I through V of the Federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. §812).

Drug: Any Controlled Substance, or any substance other than alcohol, capable of altering the mood, perception, or judgment of the individual consuming it.

Drug Screen/Test: A laboratory test administered for the purpose of determining the presence or absence of a drug or its metabolites.

Medical Student: An individual who is enrolled in University of Virginia School of Medicine and is pursuing degree requirements to obtain a Doctor of Medicine degree.

Pre‐clerkship drug screen: A drug screen conducted prior to the start of clinical clerkships.


  1. All Medical Students will be informed that their participation in clinical clerkships is contingent upon taking and passing a pre-clerkship drug screen.
  2. Each Medical Student will be scheduled for pre-clerkship drug testing to occur prior to the start of the clinical clerkships. Medical Students will not be allowed to start the clinical clerkships until the drug screen is performed and passed.
  3. Medical Students will be asked to sign a consent form allowing the drug screen and the release of test results to the Office of Student Affairs. Any Medical Student who chooses not to participate in the drug screening process will not be permitted to proceed with clinical clerkships.
  4. The Medical Director of WorkMed who serves as the Medical Review Officer (MRO)/designee, will make the final determination regarding test validity, and may request re‐analysis of the original sample or the collection or a new sample.
  5. Medical Students whose drug screen results are positive will be contacted by the MRO to discuss test results. Medical Students with positive test results will be informed that they have the option of having the same sample retested. New samples may not be submitted unless requested by the MRO. When a Medical Student requests a retest following a positive drug screen result, the cost of the retest will be the responsibility of the Medical Student.
  6. If, following discussion with a Medical Student about a positive test result, the MRO determines that a legitimate explanation exists for a positive result, the MRO will report that the Medical Student has passed the drug screen and is eligible to participate in the clinical clerkships.
  7. The MRO will share his/her report with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Medical Students who pass the drug screen will be eligible to participate in the clinical clerkships. Medical Students who do not pass the drug screen will be contacted by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or their College Dean to discuss any requirement for an assessment by Counseling and Psychological Services.
  8. All Drug Testing information will be treated as confidential and shared only with those persons who have a work‐related need to know and/or as required by law.


Federal/State Law

  1. Code of Virginia, §§ 54.1‐3446 through 54.1‐3456 (1950), as amended
  2. Federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §812

Reviewed and reaffirmed August 2020.