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5 key benefits of implementing an employee drug testing program

June 18, 2022

Updated December 28, 2023

5 Key Benefits of Implementing an Employee Drug Testing Program

Impact of Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Drug abuse and misuse in the workplace is a significant issue n the United States, impacting many workers across various industries. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), reports that 68.9% of all drug users are employed with one-third of employees aware of illegal drug sales at their workplace, according to the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

Workplace drug abuse can have negative consequences for both employers and employees. It can lead to a loss of productivity, an increase in absenteeism, high turnover rates, an increase in theft, and a decrease in the quality of work produced. It can also pose serious health and safety risks for workers and customers, especially in safety-sensitive jobs such as truck drivers, air traffic controllers, and healthcare professionals.

Advantages of Workplace Drug Testing Programs

One way to prevent and reduce illicit drug use in the workplace is to implement a drug testing program. A drug testing program can help employers identify and address substance use disorders among their employees, as well as deter potential drug users from applying for or working at their company. A drug testing program can also protect employers from legal liability and reduce workers' compensation costs.

5 Benefits of Employer Drug Screening:

  1. Brand Protection: It only takes one embarrassing incident due to drug use to permanently stain the reputation of your business. For example, negative news coverage or a bad review left by a dissatisfied customer can cost your business significantly.
  1. Supporting Employee Safety: Some jobs are dangerous to perform even if a person is completely sober. Drug use can impair a person's judgment, coordination, reaction time, and alertness, which can result in accidents, injuries, or fatalities.
  1. Pre-emptive Risk Avoidance: A company may decide to screen all potential hires to prevent problems that can arise from persistent drug use. Drug users may have higher rates of absenteeism, turnover, theft, and poor performance than non-users.
  1. Workplace Fairness: A drug testing program can create a level playing field for all employees and ensure that everyone is held to the same standards. It can also prevent favoritism or discrimination based on drug use or non-use.
  1. Employee Assistance with Treatment and Recovery Solutions: A drug testing program can help employers identify their employees who need help and offer them information, resources, and referrals to treatment programs. This can help employees overcome their substance use disorders and improve their health and well-being.

Drug Testing Methods and Legal Considerations:

There are different types of drug tests that can be used in the workplace, such as urine, saliva, blood, hair, and breath tests. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on factors such as cost, accuracy, detection window, and invasiveness.

In many states, there have been sweeping changes in laws about the use of certain types of drugs. A substance that once was illegal may be legal for medicinal or even recreational use. When establishing an employment drug policy, it might make sense for an organization to take these factors into account.

The Value of Compliance Expertise in Drug and Alcohol Screening Programs:

Before establishing a policy, a company should consult with a professional TPA, such as Vault Workforce Screening, to ensure the program is compliant with any and all laws and regulations. Additionally, some employment drug policies may not apply in specific instances, such as when an employee uses a drug to improve their ability to focus or to ease pain that may prevent them from performing physical labor.

Ethical Implementation of Employer Drug Screening:

A drug testing program must be fair, consistent, and respectful of employees' rights and privacy. It should also be accompanied by detailed and consistent education and awareness communications, as well as support and treatment options for employees who test positive for drugs or have substance use disorders. A drug testing program should not be used as a punitive measure or a substitute for good management practices. This also aids in early identification and intervention but also promotes a culture of compassion and assistance within the organization.

Advancing Towards a Safer, More Productive Work Environment

Drug abuse in the workplace is a serious issue that affects both employers and employees. By implementing a drug and alcohol testing program, companies can help ensure a safe, healthy, and productive drug-free workplace.

We offer a free 30-minute screening program review with our compliance experts. Schedule today and we'll step through every aspect of your screening program including pre-employment drug screening, random drug testing, and rescreening. Vault will identify what you may be able to improve, as well as how you can successfully add or improve workplace safety with your existing program. There is no obligation or risk involved, and you'll receive a free report you can review with team members following the consultation.

Schedule your free review