5 Questions: Is Drug Testing a Trick or Treat for my Company?
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
Trick or Treat? “Is Drug And Alcohol Abuse That Prevalent In The U.S. Workforce?”
The simple answer, Yes. According to the American Council for Drug Education’s (ACDE) Facts for Employers, more than half (57%) of employers conduct drug tests on all job candidates. Why? Americans consume 60 percent of the world’s production of illegal drugs, according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Trick or Treat? “Where’s The ROI For Drug Testing? I Don’t Need Another Expense”
On the contrary, there is evidence to suggest that a strong, consistent, and well-managed drug and alcohol testing program can provide a net reduction in expenses for many businesses. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in 2011, their survey found the number of employers reporting high workers’ compensation incidence rates fell by 50% after introducing drug testing.
Additionally, SHRM reported that drug testing has been found to reduce insurance claims as much as 12%, first aid injury reports by 18%, accidents by 51%, and Experience Modification Rates (EMR) as much as 11.4%.
Trick or Treat? “Drug Testing Is Too Expensive!”
On the contrary, Alcohol and drug use among employees is expensive! The potential effects from illicit drug use and alcohol abuse range from lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft and low employee morale, to an increase in health insurance premiums, increased legal liabilities, and more workers’ compensation costs.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have calculated these factors cost U.S. employers more than $276 billion each year. And there’s more. Alcoholism is estimated to cost 500 million lost workdays annually.
Trick or Treat? “Why drug test if it puts my company in more legal danger than without it?”
For many employers, drug-testing policies have proved indispensable as a safeguard against hiring and retaining employees with potentially dangerous drug or alcohol problems.
In states like California, however, such practices remain a thorny issue, as employers must carefully enforce any drug-testing policy in a way that does not increase their exposure to employment-related tort claims, especially for invasion of privacy.
That’s why company drug and alcohol policies need to be reviewed by professionals and are detailed in how and why testing will or may occur. Good policies can’t hurt the company if they are properly managed.
Trick or Treat? “Isn’t Drug Testing Unfair and Punitive to my Good Employees?”
Illicit drug use and alcohol abuse affect all employees, not just the users. A survey sponsored by NIDA found that drug-using employees are 2.5 times more likely to have absences of eight days or more, 2.2 times more likely to request early dismissal or time off, 3 times more likely to be late for work, and 5 times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you think that drug testing will create feelings of unfairness, how much more ill will is generated by employers making accommodations un-productive or underproductive employees?
Moreover, according to the American Council for Drug Education, substance abusers don’t have to use drugs or drink while at work to negatively impact their workplace. Compared to coworkers, substance abusers are 33% less productive and 10 times more likely to miss work.