Drug Testing in the Workplace


Studies suggest that substance abuse—which includes drugs and alcohol—costs the United States an estimated $276 billion a year, with much of the cost resulting from lost productivity and increased healthcare spending.

Choose drug testing to help eliminate unnecessary risks. The proof is in the numbers:

  • 9.1 percent full-time and 13.7 percent part-time employees aged 18 or older reported illicit drug use within the past month.
  • Employees who use drugs are 2.5 times more likely than other non-abusing co-workers to be absent for 8 or more days.
  • Drug abusers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident at work and 5 times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • 44 percent of abusers have sold drugs to other employees.
  • 18 percent have stolen from co-workers to support their habit.

Benefits of drug testing

Drug testing programs aim to filter out drug users from your workforce as well as to deter drug use on the job. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, past-month illicit drug users said they were:

  • Less likely to work for employers that conducted pre-employment drug testing than those reporting no current illicit drug use (18.2 vs. 3.7 percent).
  • More likely to report working for an employer that did not test employees for drugs compared to those working for employers that did (13.0 percent vs. 7.7 percent).
  • Far less likely to work for employers that conduct random drug testing compared to those reporting no current illicit drug use (29.1 percent of past-month illicit drug users versus 6.9 percent of non-users).

Drug testing programs improve employee morale and productivity; decrease absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover and theft; and lead to better health among employees and family members as well as decreased use of medical benefits. Organizations with drug-free workplace programs sometimes qualify for state government incentives or workers’ compensation insurance premium discounts.

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