A common misconception among people that use and abuse substances is that they are not harming anyone other than themselves. This is far from the truth. The economic impact of substance abuse is staggering, and this has particularly come to light thanks to this nation's opioid epidemic. Many employers are grappling with the question of whether to drug test employees, and more are choosing to take this step.
Drug Testing in the Workplace in on the Rise
The consumption of illicit drugs in the U.S. is not proportionate to that of other parts of the world. The U.S. consumes 60 percent of the world's supply of illicit drugs while only representing 5 percent of the total world population.
It is estimated that 14.8 million Americans abuse drugs and 70 percent of them are employed. Addicted employees are not giving their best efforts to their employers. Drug abuse costs U.S. business owners roughly $140 billion annually in lost productivity, high turnover rates, workplace accidents, and skyrocketing healthcare expenses.
It is no wonder that more employers are choosing to drug test their staff. Technology has made drug testing both easier and more cost-effective for employers, which means that you are likely to see this requirement more often in the workplace.
How Employers Drug Test Their Staff
Workplace drug testing is not difficult, and it is voluntary for most employers. Federal and state regulations might require drug testing for certain jobs, such as those in the transportation and healthcare industry.
Most employers that opt for drug testing will partner with a lab or other provider that will administer their workplace drug testing program. A drug screening is often a simple urine test, but there is also the possibility of a blood or hair drug test. These parameters are set by your employer.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Workplace Drug Testing
Some argue that drug testing in the workplace is intrusive and violates the privacy of employees. Unfortunately, this is a difficult argument to sustain given the significant cost of addiction in the workplace. Of course, taking any job is voluntary. If an employer has a drug testing policy with which you do not agree, you can look for employment elsewhere. There are several potential advantages and disadvantages of these drug testing programs by businesses.
Welfare and safety is the main advantage of workplace drug testing. An employer has a duty to look out for the safety of customers as well as that of other employees. Knowing that a driver, machine operator, or even a cook is not abusing drugs can help them maintain that standard of care. Workplace drug testing can also boost morale and productivity as well as help employees in need. If an employee has a substance use disorder, a positive drug screen could be the first step in getting addiction treatment help.
The disadvantage of workplace drug testing is that employees who test positive could face unfair consequences. Addiction is a disease, but it remains one that is misunderstood by many, including some employers. If an employee is fired or shamed because of a positive drug screen instead of being given the opportunity to get help, this would be unfortunate.
Need Help After a Positive Workplace Drug Screen?
So many employers require drug testing today that you may not be able to avoid a positive drug test if you use or abuse drugs. Whether your employer is supportive or not, testing positive for drugs could be the wake-up call you need to get addiction treatment.
At The Recovery Village, we offer clients a variety of substance abuse services that we will cater to your needs and circumstances. These range from detox to outpatient and inpatient care. Contact us now to discuss your options.