According to the latest data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 24.6 million Americans age 12 or over are current drug users, and 68.9 percent of these illicit drug users are employed full-time or part-time. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that drug use in the workplace costs employers $81 billion annually. Others studies show that illicit drug use costs the United States approximately $193 billion per year, with much of that cost resulting from lost productivity and increased spending on healthcare.
Since companies first began drug testing their employees, drug use in the workplace has steadily decreased. Drug testing programs have been proven to boost employee productivity and morale, and decrease absenteeism, employee turnover, accidents, theft and downtime. However, according to the most recent data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI), in the past two years, there’s been a notable change in this trend. Since 2012, drug use in the American workforce has been increasing by 0.2 percent per year. Before 2012, there had not been an increase in annual positivity rates for fifteen years, and this new trend is cause for concern.
The costs of employee drug and alcohol use are high and the benefits of workplace testing are many. Yet not all drug testing goals and situations are created equal. Over the course of this blog series, we’ll go into detail about the different reasons for drug testing, the frequency of each and the specific pros and cons each one provides. Follow this series to learn more about the different reasons for drug testing in the workplace.