Workplace Drug Testing: Why It’s Important?

As an employer, it is your responsibility to keep the workplace safe for your workers and make sure your business operates for as long as it can. To achieve these objectives, a drug-free work environment is a must.

According to government statistics, nearly 75 percent of all adult illicit drug users in the United States are employed. Past research demonstrates that each drug user in the workplace costs an employer an average of $7,000 – $13,000 annually.  Additionally, problems related to alcohol and drug abuse cost American businesses roughly $81 billion in lost productivity yearly. As more and more employers become aware of this phenomenon, drug testing is being implemented to new hires and existing employers to reduce the impact of drug abuse.

Among the benefits of a drug-free workplace include increased productivity; increased employee morale; safer work environment; reduction in Worker’s Compensation rates; reduction in health care rates; and reduced turnover and absenteeism.

When considering employment drug testing, employers must clearly state in their policy who will be tested; when the test will be required; which drugs will be tested for; how the drug test will be conducted; what type of drug testing will be utilized; and what consequences await those who test positive.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) cited several possible drug testing reasons as follows:

  • Pre-employment test
  • Random test
  • Reasonable suspicion/cause test
  • Post-accident test
  • Return to duty test
  • Follow-up test

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