Quest Diagnostics just recently released its analysis of 7.6 million drug tests. Workforce drug test positivity rates have increased for the first time in 10 years. Marijuana and amphetamines account for a large part of the increase.
“After years of declines, the prevalence of positive workforce drug tests is increasing,” said Dr. Barry Sample, director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, a business of Quest Diagnostics. “This increase indicates that employers should be aware of the potential for drug use by their workers and the risk that represents for the health and safety of their employees and the public.”
While the legalization of marijuana continues to build momentum, it is important for employers to know that they need not tolerate any associate or representative who tests positive while conducting job duties. Also be aware that while some states have legalized marijuana, the federal government has not legalized marijuana.
If your firm does not have a drug free workplace program, you should know that the Society for Human Resource Management states that illegal drug users can cost your firm up to $13,000 per year in increased accidents, time away from work, increased worker compensation claims and increased use of your health insurance program.
Also of note, and consistent with prior years’ results, is the increased effectiveness of a random drug testing program in discovering illegal drug users in your firm. This analysis reveals that while pre-employment positivity rate in the U.S. general workforce is at 3.8% the random positivity rate is at 5.2%
Random drug testing can be very effective. It sends a very powerful message to the workforce that your firm will not tolerate any of its associates being under the influence of an illegal drug. As you know, the cost of conducting pre-employment drug tests is not controllable as it is dependent on hiring volume. BUT, the cost of a random drug testing program is much more controllable. As long as you are not covered by any other regulations, you can select the percentage of individuals you want to test each year.