4 reasons why a drug-tested workplace is a stronger workplace

5 May 2023

If you want to attract the best hires for your company, it's important to demonstrate your commitment to employee wellness. This includes providing a work environment that mitigates risks to employee safety wherever possible. Drug testing, already a standard procedure in many workplaces across the U.S., is one of the most straightforward and effective ways you can prioritize the safety and wellness of your staff. According to statistics from the federal government, when compared to non-using workers, substance-using employees are more likely to:

  • Be late or absent from work
  • Cause higher employee turnover
  • Be less productive employees
  • Be involved in a workplace accident
  • File a workers’ compensation claim

Given the potential impact of substance use on your workforce, it's no wonder many companies opt for preemployment drug screenings that can help ensure a job candidate is the right fit for a position within the company. Beyond the new hire phase, however, a drug-free workplace testing program offers you many benefits. Here are four reasons why you should opt for occupational testing services.

1. Drug testing helps promote a happier, safer workplace

Behavioral issues caused by drug abuse may adversely affect the workplace, causing low employee morale, hostility or harm to fellow employees. According to a federal government study of full-time employees who admitted that they used illicit drugs, 40% said they were less likely to work for a company that conducted random drug testing. Thus, when you opt for random drug testing, you are more likely to attract employees that demonstrate mutual respect and professionalism.

2. Drug testing may reduce healthcare costs

A 2016 substance use report from the Surgeon General found that treating substance use disorders in the U.S. costs an average $35 billion per year. An additional $85 billion is spent annually to treat injuries, infections and illnesses associated with substance use. Screening for drugs, therefore, not only reduces risk for workplace accidents, but may also reduce healthcare costs associated with illicit substance use. Some liability insurers offer discounts for a drug-free workplace program, so you may enjoy an additional benefit of reduced insurance costs.

3. Drug testing helps the economy

The economic cost of drug abuse in the U.S. was estimated at $193 billion in 2007, the last available estimate. This value includes $120 billion in total lost productivity, mainly due to labor participation costs, participation in drug abuse treatment, incarceration and premature death. In healthcare, drug abuse costs the U.S. economy an estimated $11 billion for drug treatment and related medical consequences. Another $61 billion goes to criminal justice costs, primarily due to criminal investigation, prosecution and incarceration and victim costs.

Research shows that the rate of substance use varies by occupation and industry. However, employers who implement drug-free work policies are better able to strengthen the U.S. economy by managing internal resources effectively and avoiding lost productivity due to substance use.

4. Drug testing meets company, state or federal regulation requirements

Finally, depending on state-specific rules or federal rules, you may be required to perform drug tests to be in compliance. In fact, some companies may have different drug-testing rules for different positions depending upon the risk associated with specific job duties. Disclaimer: Employers should consult legal counsel to ensure that their drug-free workplace testing policy is in compliance with all applicable state, local and federal laws.

According to the 2021 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), approximately:

  • 57.8% of people aged 12 or older reported using tobacco, alcohol or an illicit drug in the past month
  • Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with nearly 20% of those surveyed reporting substance use within the past year
  • Among people aged 12 or older, 9.2 million misused opioids in the past year

Special circumstances to consider

Critics of workplace drug testing believe that illicit drug use is a private matter if done outside of work. However, an employee’s activities outside of work may still affect their performance at work. As an employer, you must analyze the safety risks involved at your workplace. The cost and time spent on a drug-free workplace program is justified if some of your employees could seriously harm themselves or others if impaired at work.

In addition, as laws around the legalization of marijuana continue to shift, a growing number of employers may no longer wish to test it as an illicit drug. Recognizing this preference, Labcorp offers customizable test panels that do not include marijuana. Our patient service centers also provide rapid drug test options that do not include marijuana in their results. However, it is important to note that federally regulated drug test programs are still required to test for marijuana at this time.

Leverage our drug testing services for employers

At Labcorp, we understand that a healthy, productive workforce begins with a drug-free workplace. Our comprehensive menu of laboratory-based and rapid drug testing options is designed to meet the needs of most workplace testing programs, with services that include:

  • Rapid tests
  • Medical professional profiles
  • Urine
  • Oral fluid
  • Hair
  • Alcohol
  • Blood

An effective drug-free workplace testing program includes more than just a preemployment test. For the optimum benefit, drug-free workplace testing programs should also include random testing, post-accident testing, and reasonable suspicion testing.  

Visit our webpage to learn more and set up a workplace drug testing program. You can also contact Labcorp sales.

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