Pros and Cons of Workplace Drug Testing

Employees who abuse drugs and alcohol cost businesses in terms of lost productivity, lost revenue and a higher safety risk.

Furthermore, many companies face growing health insurance premiums and worker’s compensation costs. All told, the cost of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace ranges between $75 billion and $100 billion annually, according to the Department of Labor.

Taking into consideration the financial risk organizations face, drug testing in the workplace seems justified. However, studies have shown that only about 10 percent of employees have used drugs or alcohol while on the job. Furthermore, some argue these tests are invasive, making them worker’s rights and privacy issues.

Are companies casting suspicion on their entire workforce considering the legal issues and debates surrounding drug testing, as well as the fact that a only small minority of workers use on the job?

In the private sector, where no federal laws govern drug assessing, it is the company’s choice to run this sort of tests. To fully comprehend the value of a testing policy, here are a few pros and cons of drug screening in the workplace.

Pro – Deterring drug use

While there are major differences between drug abusers and drug addicts, holding random drug tests can help to deter non-addicts from potentially abusing drugs and alcohol. A simple and periodic urinalysis can both identify those who could put your business at risk, and well as discourage usage.

Furthermore, pre-employment screening is a good way to protect the majority of the employees who do not abuse drugs and alcohol.

Pro – Better safety record

While drug and alcohol abuse don’t always mean violence and injury, the behavior does greatly increase the chances of a worker’s judgment, impacting workplace safely. In some jobs, this could be a matter of life and death. Given the stakes, drug screening can be an insurance policy against accidents.

Also, with a drug screening system, some employees who are regular users might be compelled to seek care. If they are effectively treated before becoming a danger to themselves and others, workplace safety is maintained and even raised.

Con – Lower employee morale

Even though some workers see drug screening as a positive because it shows an employer’s commitment to safety, others see it as an authoritarian policy, leading to workers feeling judged and controlled. Critics say it contributes to turnover and isn’t directly connected to job performance.

Con – Costs money

Drug testing could become costly for employers. A more thorough screening, like a hair test, is more expensive than a urine test. Buying drug screening kits in large quantities may be a cost-efficient option, but tests cannot be stored for long periods of time.

At Labor Temps, we coordinate with our client companies to develop a joint drug screening policy. To learn more about how we combat drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, please contact us today.