Why is Drug Testing Important in the Workplace?

For many employers, creating and implementing a drug testing policy may not be at the top of their priority list. However, it absolutely should be. One of the biggest benefits to companies performing drug testing is that most states give a discount on their workers’ compensation insurance. By maintaining a drug-free workplace, employers can save money by preventing accidents often caused by impaired workers.

Ask yourself this: do you consider company profits, workplace safety, and employee productivity to be important factors in your business’s success? Odds are, you answered yes to all three. One thing that all of these elements have in common is that they cannot reach their full potential when one or more employees are engaging in drug use, whether at home or in the workplace.

Instituting a drug testing policy to become a drug and alcohol-free workplace is a critical step in establishing a path to success. According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, American businesses lose $140 billion a year to drug use. If that isn’t enough to convince you, there are plenty of other reasons for drug testing in the workplace, especially as more and more businesses recognize the importance of a drug testing policy.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “why do companies drug test?” or “why is drug testing important in the workplace?”, perhaps the five following reasons will answer your question.

The U.S. is suffering from a horrible drug epidemic

With an estimated 64,000+ drug overdose deaths in 2016, the death rate is now 5 times higher than it was in 1999.

Employee drug use is more prevalent than you may think

According to Quest Diagnostics, 4.2% of all urine tests taken in the workplace in 2016 came back positive, the highest rate since the 4.5% positive score from 2004. More specifically, cocaine usage was up 12% from 2015, methamphetamine use had risen 64% between 2012 to 2016, and positive oral drug tests for marijuana increased to 8.9% in 2016. Many company leaders are surprised to hear such high percentages, but it isn’t surprising when you consider that many regular drug users are very skilled at hiding the side effects of their drug of choice. When you consider the statistics, it’s very likely that your company has one or more employees using drugs, but you’ll never know who these employees are if you don’t create a regular drug testing policy.

Employee drug use is a huge safety issue

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over half of all workplace accidents are caused by employee drug use. Imagine a serious or even fatal accident occurring at your business, and then learning that it was caused by illicit drug use – something that could have been avoided by implementing a drug testing policy. Employees who use drugs are also five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim, which can cost you unnecessary money and hurt your bottom line.

Employee drug use leads to serious turnover issues

You can expect to deal with a 30% higher turnover rate when you compare drug-using employees to sober employees. Not only does it cost you time to replace these employees, but the financial impact can also add up as you pay staff to recruit new candidates, conduct interviews, and then onboard new employees. Also, consider the productivity effect of having to train new employees. It all adds up.

Drug testing can lead to a happier workplace with better morale

Everyone wants to be able to come to work and feel safe and happy, but that becomes difficult when a co-worker is engaging in drug use. Clean employees may feel that their safety is threatened by drug-using employees, and they can become frustrated if their co-workers lack focus and drive due to their drug use. By creating a drug-free workplace, you can ensure that everyone is putting their best foot forward, working together towards a common goal.

Company drug testing can decrease drug use

As you can probably imagine, when employees know that random drug testing is a reality at their company, they are far less likely to engage in drug use at any time. Thus, implementing a solid drug testing policy not only serves to pinpoint employee drug use, but it can also put a stop to it altogether. You’ll be protecting your company, but also doing something to better the lives of both your employees and the community.

So, why is drug testing important for employers? Put simply, it’s because drug testing protects both the business and its employees. Now that you are aware of this, you can plan your next immediate steps towards implementing a drug testing policy at your company. The good news is, you don’t have to tackle the challenge alone.

At ARCpoint Labs, we offer a range of services that can help you design, implement, and administer a drug testing program that fits your company’s needs. We are here to support you in creating a well-written policy and can help you manage any necessary programs. ARCpoint Labs can train your management staff on these policies, provide guidance in dealing with legal aspects of drug testing, and even administer safe and confidential testing to your employees.