Studies suggest that substance abuse – which includes drugs and alcohol – costs the United States an estimated $276 billion a year, with much of the cost resulting from lost work productivity and increased healthcare spending. Drug test programs have been shown to improve employee morale and productivity; decrease absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover, and theft; and lead to better health among employees and family members as well as decreased use of medical benefits. Organizations with drug-free workplace programs sometimes qualify for state government incentives or workers’ compensation insurance premium discounts.8
Drug testing programs aim to filter out drug users and deter drug use in the workplace. In two analyses of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, past-month illicit drug users:
- Said they would be less likely than those reporting no current illicit drug use to work for employers that conducted pre-employment drug testing (18.2 percent vs. 3.7 percent)1
- Were more likely to report working for an employer that did not test employees for drugs compared to those working for employers that did (10.8 percent vs. 7.4 percent).2
- Reported they would be far less likely to work for employers that conduct random drug testing compared to those reporting no current illicit drug use (29.1 percent of past-month illicit drug users answered this way vs. 6.9 percent of non-users)1.
1 Larson, S. L., Eyerman, J., Foster, M. S., & Gfroerer, J. C. (2007). Worker Substance Use and Workplace Policies and Programs (DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4273, Analytic Series A-29). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. www.oas.samhsa.gov/work2k7/work.htm
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. NATIONAL SURVEY ON DRUG USE AND HEALTH, 2006 [Computer file]. ICPSR21240-v3. Research Triangle Park, NC: Research Triangle Institute [producer], 2007. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-01-09. doi:10.3886/ICPSR21240.
Quest Diagnostics annually release results of literally millions of drug tests. Quest analyzes the results in many ways. Look at the difference this table shows in positive rates between the categories of federally mandated safety sensitive position vs the general U.S. Workforce. This table proves that clear and constant communication about the presence and ramification of testing positive keeps illegal drug users out of the workforce.
|POSITIVITY RATES BY TESTING CATEGORY – Urine Drug Tests – 2012|
|For Federally Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce||For General U.S. Workforce|
|Federally Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce||1.60%||4.10%|
|POSITIVITY RATES BY TESTING REASON – Urine Drug Tests|
|Returned to Duty||2.70%||5.40%|