Home/ Why Drug Test?

Just How Important is Workplace Drug Testing?

Fifteen percent of manufacturing personnel, from CEOs to line workers, admitted to using illicit drugs in the past year.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, drug abuse costs American industry over $140 billion annually. Employee drug abuse causes as much as 50% of all on-the-job accidents and up to 40% of employee theft. In addition, drugabusing employees are absent ten times more frequently than non-users, and the turnover rate for drug-abusing employees is 30% higher than clean employees.

Read more

Why Drug Test?

Drug use in the workplace is a problem for both the employer and the employee. Drug use leads to accidents, increased absenteeism, and decreased productivity. Many insurance companies realize the risks drug use in the workplace poses, and offer reductions in insurance premiums for their drug-testing clients.

According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.4 percent of full-time employees (10.2 million) and 10.1 percent of part-time employees (3 million) aged 18 or older reported using illicit drugs within the past month.1 Employees who abuse drugs are 2.5 times more likely than other non-substance abusing coworkers to be absent for eight or more days.2 Drug abusers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident at work2 and 5 times more likely to file a workers compensation claim.2 Forty-four percent of abusers have sold drugs to other employees3 and 18 percent have stolen from co-workers to support their habit.3

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.4

Drug testing programs aim to filter out drug users and deter drug use in the workplace. In two analyses of data (2002-2004; 2006) 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)5

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).6

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)5.

Drug testing 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.7 Organizations with drug-free workplace programs sometimes qualify for state government incentives or workers’ compensation insurance premium discounts.8

Compared to the costs and risks that hiring a drug user can introduce to your workplace, the cost of a drug test is rather minimal. To calculate what your company could save with a drug testing program, plug in your company's information in our Drug Testing Return on Investment Calculator.

To get started with TDAL Labs today, call 800-877-7484 or contact us online.

  • 1Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. September 2008. www.samhsa.gov/data
  • 2Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Injury/Disability/Workers’ Compensation Fact Sheet. www.workplace.samhsa.gov
  • 3U.S. Department of Labor, elaws – Drug-Free Workplace Advisor. www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/benefits.htm
  • 4Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Issue Brief #1 for Employers. http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA08-4350/SMA08-4350.pdf
  • 5Larson, 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
  • 6U.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.
  • 7NIDA InfoFacts. “Workplace Resources.” National Institutes of Health – U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. June 2008. www.drugabuse.gov/PDF/InfoFacts/Workplace08.pdf
  • 8U.S. Department of Labor. Laws and Regulations. www.dol.gov