Drugs & Alcohol

Employers Paying the Price of Substance Abuse

by Steve Beller on May 9, 2017

Substance abuse in the workplace is increasing. For the past several years, data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ has shown an increase in drug test positivity in the American workforce. We knew that employee drug use was costly to businesses in turnover, absenteeism, accidents, and insurance. However, the actual cost employers bear for employee substance abuse has been somewhat elusive – until now. The National Safety Council (NSC), Shatterproof (a national nonprofit organization), and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) collaborated to create the Substance Use Cost Calculator for Employers to help estimate the costs of employee drug use on businesses. According to the NSC, the calculator is, “an authoritative, easy-to-use tool providing business leaders with specific information about the cost of substance use (including prescription drug abuse and misuse, alcohol abuse and misuse, opioid and heroin addiction, as well as abuse of other illicit drugs and marijuana) in their workplace.” The calculator combines the latest research on employment costs with data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Using the calculator is simple. Employers enter their industry, company size, and state to estimate the price they might be paying on account of employee substance abuse. For example, the calculator estimates the annual cost of substance abuse for a retail chain in California with 1,000 employees is $370,299. This translates into $132,007 in lost time, $140,693 in job turnover and re-training, and $97,498 in added healthcare spend. In addition to pointing out the costs of substance abuse, the calculator also provides an estimate of potential cost avoidance employers can achieve through employee engagement and treatment assistance.

According to the NSC, “Substance use disorders affect 20.8 million Americans, almost 8 percent of the adult and adolescent population. While 75 percent of these people are part of the workforce, most employers are unaware of the hidden costs associated with these problems. It is estimated that the yearly economic impact is over $442 billion dollars.” Employers absorb a significant portion of those costs in the form of absenteeism, increased healthcare expenses, and lost productivity.

For more information on drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Common Questions about Marijuana

by Nicole Jupe on April 28, 2017

Many employers continue to ask questions about marijuana in the era of state legislation surrounding medical and recreational use statutes. In an effort to provide information about topics related to the science, drug testing, policy, and the law, Quest Diagnostics experts have provided responses to the some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about marijuana.

The most prevalent inquiry we receive from employers is whether or not they can continue to drug test applicants and employees under current state marijuana laws. The answer is yes. More than 99 percent of all non-federally mandated workplace drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics include marijuana as a part of their drug testing panel.

There are currently no restrictions limiting an employer’s ability to drug test for marijuana, although there may be limitations on permissible disciplinary action that an employer may take if an employee is using marijuana in accordance with that state’s marijuana laws. In general, state medical and recreational use statutes impact a very small number of employees.

Download our new Marijuana FAQ.

Download our Marijuana Legislation by State infographic as a resource.

Watch our on-demand webinar called “Weeding out the Facts: Marijuana Legislation & the Workplace.”

To learn more about marijuana, visit our website or contact us online.

Side-Effects of Quitting Marijuana

April 20, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

April is a month when avid marijuana consumers, distributors, and marketers ramp up their efforts to reach audiences as they hype up the unofficial pot smoker’s holiday – 4/20. It’s possible that more first-time users will try the drug this year than in year’s past because of relaxing attitudes and increasing societal tolerance towards marijuana. […]

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Cannabinol State Laws

March 28, 2017Drug Testing

Chemically complex, the cannabis sativa plant, known as marijuana, has hundreds of active compounds and cannabinoids. Ratios of chemicals and potency can differ based on the age of the plant, the origin, and the method of cultivation. Some of the more well-known chemicals in marijuana include: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Primary psychoactive ingredient that produces a “high” Cannabidiol […]

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The Case for Maintaining a Drug Testing Policy

March 16, 2017Drug Testing

Employers conduct drug testing for a number of reasons – pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty. Of these, reasonable suspicion can often be the most litigious and, as such, points out the importance of creating and maintaining a comprehensive workplace drug testing policy and program. The case of Layne v. Kanawha County Board of […]

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Employee Protections in the Era of Medical Marijuana Legislation

March 10, 2017Drug Testing

More than twenty states have enacted medical marijuana laws since Proposition 215 was passed by California voters in 1996. The earliest medical marijuana laws typically only provided criminal protections, however in the past two decades, laws are now extending protections to housing, schooling, domestic relations, and employment. State marijuana regulations uniquely address aspects such as […]

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Weeding Out the Facts Webinar Recap

February 21, 2017Illicit drugs

Employers face challenges as states continue to pass marijuana legislation, while the substance is still illegal under federal law.  In our recent webinar, two highly-regarded industry experts, Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, and D. Faye Caldwell, Attorney at Law, Caldwell Everson, presented facts and insight about marijuana and the workplace […]

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Revisions to Federal Workplace Drug Testing

February 10, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

On January 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. More specifically, the notice expanded federal urine workplace drug testing to include four Schedule II drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. The effective date for the revised Guidelines is October 1, 2017. […]

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Sobering Facts about the Repeal of Obamacare

January 30, 2017Drug Testing

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, has been one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in decades. While more than 20 million Americans are covered by the ACA, many have vocalized concerns over the cost and effectiveness of the legislation. With the outcome of November’s election, Congress and President Trump are working to […]

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DUI Rates in the U.S. Hit New Low

January 27, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

Dating back decades, our society has brought awareness to the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and encouraged people to seek safe, sober transportation options. Research shows that alcohol as well as marijuana and other illicit substances weakens reaction times, motor skills, and perception and may lead to reckless driving and […]

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