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Drug Testing In the Workplace – Benefits Of An Effective Drug Testing Program

  October 12, 2010

Substance use is a national problem that's also a workplace issue. It affects nearly every company.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 75 percent of all adult illicit drug users are employed, as are most binge and heavy alcohol users. Studies show that when compared with non–substance abusers, substance-abusing employees are more likely to:

  • change jobs frequently
  • be late to or absent from work
  • be less productive employees
  • be involved in a workplace accident
  • file a workers' compensation claim

As an employer, you should implement drug testing in the workplace to protect your business from the impact of drug and alcohol abuse. Every business is unique, so there is no one “right way” to establish an employee drug testing program. Instead, the program should be developed your organization's specific needs and requirements. A thorough assessment can determine which program elements are reasonable and beneficial, as well as which may be unnecessary or unsuitable. If you're an employer in a business that is federally regulated (i.e. DOT), there could be specific requirements that must be incorporated into your employment drug testing program.

5 Elements of Effective Drug Testing Programs

  • Drug Testing Policy
    Before purchasing or administering drug tests, establish a detailed written and consistent employee drug testing policy for every employee in your company, from production employees to executives.
  • Supervisor Training
  • Effective supervisor training is necessary for a drug-free workplace program ¾ supervisors should be able to recognize behavioral patterns that could indicate employee problems and be prepared to refer employees to resources for help.
  • Employee Substance Abuse Education
    It's important everyone in your organization receives employee substance abuse education, including obtaining a copy of your drug testing policy, learning about available resources and information on drug abuse.
  • Employee Substance Abuse Assistance
    Give all employees the option of employee substance abuse assistance, which should be a confidential service that helps employees deal with a myriad of personal problems that could be interfering with job performance.
  • Pre Employment Drug Testing & Employee Drug Testing
    Implement a pre employment drug testing program conduct drug testing in the workplace that helps mitigates risk throughout your enterprise and keeps your organization safe.

Workplace drug testing programs benefit employers in many ways; higher morale and increased productivity, and decreases in absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover, theft and enhanced security.  Some organizations that implement drug testing programs qualify for incentives, such as reduced costs for workers' compensation and insurance. All employers should consult with their legal advisor to ensure compliance with any applicable state or local drug testing laws, and create drug testing procedures to withstand legal challenges.

The United States Department of Labor provides an entire site dedicated to a Drug Free Workplace. Click here to go directly to the site to a find a wealth of information you can use to help establish a program for your business.

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