Short Paper: Drug Testing of Employees

3-2 Short Paper: Drug Testing of Employees

Southern New Hampshire University

OL-326-X1402 Social Environment of Business

To test or not to test, that is the question? The use of drug testing is one tool that an employer can implement to verify if employees or job applicants are using or abusing illegal drugs. The utilization of tests can detect proof of recent use of abused prescription drugs, alcohol and illegal drugs. Drug testing is best utilized when a understandable, written policy, that all employees and applicants are aware of, explains the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace. Supervisors must also be trained to identify the signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse. Quite clearly substance abuse among employees results in less productivity, use more sick time, and are at a higher risk for injury resulting in more workman’s comp claims (NOVA, 2018). With this being said, drug testing should most definitely be utilized by companies to ensure they are employing quality workers. The use of alcohol, abuse of prescription medication and the use of illegal drugs are increasingly apparent in today’s society. According to NOVA Recovery Center, in 2016, 4.2 percent of all tests resulted as a positive, cocaine usage had increased 12 percent from 2015, oral drug tests resulting in positive results had increased 75% in 2016 and almost half of the U.S. workforce that had am positive drug test for any substance in 2015 displayed signs of marijuana use. When looking at the cost of drug use, drug and alcohol abuse produces $740 billion worth of damaging financial effects every year according to National Institute on Drug Abuse 38% to 50% of all Workers Compensation claims are connected to substance abuse and abusers are more likely to file three to five times more claims. In addition, the abuse of drugs and alcohol result in increased employee turnover rates costing companies and average of $7, 000 to $10,000 to replace salaried employees (Psychemedics, 2019. With the recent legalization of marijuana in several States will have a considerable impact on the workforce. In retrospect, substance abuse effects have an extending impact on the effectiveness of a company. Job functions that require employees to be alert and accurate may cause a significant harm in completing required tasks. Impairment can lead to mishaps, ineffectiveness and decreased production. Absenteeism from recovering after a night of abuse and associated afflictions can also be harmful to an organization.

An increasing number of employer’s are making drug testing a common occurrence among applicants and current employees. Drug testing in most cases is used as a condition of employment. As stated previously in this paper, drug testing is important and reduces costs and prevents cases of lost productivity. Potential employees have the right to decline a drug screening, but refusal usually means the applicant must give up the job offer. However, pre-employment drug screenings don’t have to be substantiated by safety concerns or other job-specific concerns beyond the need for a drug-free workplace. In addition, many union members may not be asked to take part in a pre-employment drug screening except when drug testing procedures are part of a specific union contract (FindLaw, 2019). Privacy is always in upmost concern for employers. If substance abuse is apparent, then in many cases businesses have programs or resources to help employees regain a normal life without drugs or alcohol. But when abuse is detected, not only are they putting the business in danger, they are also putting co-workers in danger as well. Employers must implement programs that foster privacy while keeping the health and welfare if the company in mind. In some cases where individuals can’t be rehabilitated then the overall efficiency of the company must take precedence. Overall, the business comes first and there is no room for illegal drug use or abuse of alcohol. There is too many negative effects that may occur that can put the company in jeopardy because of someone’s poor life choices.


Find Law (2019) Drug Testing at Work. Retrieved from,

Nova Recovery Center (2018) The Effects of Workplace Substance Abuse. Retrieved from,

Psychemedics (2019) Why Companies Are Drug Testing Employees? Retrieved from,

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