• Drug Testing Facts and Statistics

    Many employers require drug testing as part of the pre-employment assessment process.  According to the American Management Association, there were about 62% of employers in the United States that had implemented a drug testing program with the drive to guarantee employee safety, comply with the state regulations, protect the organization’s reputation, and develop a drug-free environment for employers and employees.

    Drug testing can be administered through urine test, saliva test, hair follicle test, and blood test. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) requires federal workplaces to test for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). The table below shows some facts that you may need to know about the drug testing methods.

    Urine Drug Testing This is the most common method used to test employees for its accuracy and reliability. According to survey on urine drug testing, nearly 75% of adult illicit drug users are employed, which cost American businesses to lose about $81 billion in a year.
    Saliva Drug Testing The saliva drug testing is also known as oral fluid testing. According to the survey of saliva drug testing, 12.7 million out of 20.6 million adult drug users are employed full time and among the US working age of 18-64, 62.7% are employed fulltime despite having substance abuse disorder.
    Hair Follicle Test This type of drug testing method uses hair follicle to assess the presence of drug metabolites. According to survey of the 2007 Quest Diagnostic Drug Testing Index, the use of amphetamines in the general workforce has slightly increased to about 5%.
    Blood Drug Testing This type of drug testing is not used often as urine drug testing because it requires medically trained professionals and specialized equipment. According to the 2007 United Nations Drug Report, about 158.8 million people have consumed marijuana within the last 12 months.

    Drug testing is an effective way to assess employees whether or not they have been using drugs. It is also one way to evaluate whether or not the employees are strictly following your organization’s drug-free workplace policy.

    Drug Test Cost

    The cost of drug testing can vary depending on the type of test and the number of employees being tested. The cost for a standard workplace urine test is estimated to be around $25 to $75 per test.

    According to government studies, 1 out of 6 workers has a problem with drug abuse. The following are additional facts regarding the cost of drug testing.

    • Drug testing per employee is estimated to cost at least $15, 000 annually
    • Employed drug users are 20 times more often absent at work while
    • Drug accusers cost companies 300% in medical expenses and benefits
    • Drug  abusers can be 1/3 less productive in the long run

    Who does the Testing?

    An organization can conduct a drug testing following the mandatory guidelines for the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Aside from this law, private companies that intend to conduct drug testing must comply with their state laws and city code. Transportation companies may need to comply with the existing rules and regulations of the US Department of Transportation. Some organizations may use the US Department of Health and Human Services upon conducting a drug testing. In some instances, an employee may not know about the drug test results unless an MRO has done a final evaluation on the results. The MRO is defined by SAMHSA as a licensed physician who has an appropriate medical training to interpret laboratory results including the employee’s medical history and any other relevant biomedical information.

    Instances when a drug test is administered

    An organization may conduct a drug test at any of the five following times.

    • Pre-employment – Most companies usually require drug testing during pre-employment to decrease the chance of hiring drug users.
    • For reasonable suspicion – When an employee shows unusual signs of not being fit for duty, such as frequent absence, low work performance, frequent argument with co-workers, and fearless dispute with the employer, he or she may be subject to a drug testing to justify the situation.
    • At random – Random drug testing comes unannounced for at least once in a year to discourage employees from using drugs. When caught positive, an employee may be subject to serious penalties, such as getting fired from job or voidance of professional license.
    • Post-accident – An organization may conduct drug testing on individuals following an accident or incident involving unsafe behavior.
    • Post-treatment – after being treated in a rehab, an individual may be subject to another drug testing to make sure that he or she has finally recovered from drug addiction.

    Possibilities of a drug-free workplace

    A workplace with drug-free employees is always expected to produce a progressive output. The following are the significant benefits of a drug-free workplace.

    • Increased productivity
    • Increased employee morale
    • Safer work environment
    • Reduction in worker’s compensation claims
    • Reduction in health care rates
    • Reduced absenteeism

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