Drug Testing: A Workforce In Dilemma

When I began my working career, drug testing was not even a word combination. I had never been exposed to drugs beyond the point of alcoholic beverages, and then only on special occasions and holidays. To contemplate daily usage of some foreign substance was beyond my realm of possibilities. I was not alone. That was twenty-five years and many drug issues ago.


Today, if you apply for a job, of any kind, you will be drug tested. Why? Because a lot has changed in twenty-five years. Today, the prevalence of drug abuse in every level of our society has grown beyond anyone’s belief. Drugs have infected our teens, our adults, the rich, the poor; even the sanctuaries of our churches are no longer exempted. If you can manage to reach the age of thirteen, without exposure to marijuana, hallucinogenic substances, or the common place alcoholic beverage, you are an exception. With so many opportunities for experimentation, it’s no wonder that we have a problem with drug addiction in our workplace. Once a young person becomes addicted to a drug, the chances of abstinence are low, until it begins to affect their ability to generate an income, or interact in relationships.


The point of intervention for most employers is to simply prohibit the employment of an individual that tests positive for drug use. The cost to employers for employees with drug or substance abuse problems is staggering. Employees will cost their twice as much in medical bills and workmen’s compensation claims. Drug related crime is the second largest expense to an employer. Lost productivity for victims and lost employees due to incarceration for drug crimes accounts for the bulk of the drug related expense.


Thanks to the advent of drug testing in the workplace, drug use rates have continued to decline since 1992, and remain stabilized today around 7%. Implementing a drug testing program in your place of business has never been easier, and the cost is minimal. Businesses have access to many hundreds of companies that are drug testing administrators. These companies will provide your business with everything you need to drug test all employees, or randomly test a few employees. You simply notify the administrating company when you’re ready to test, and they handle the rest. The administrator performs onsite interviewing and testing, proceeds to having the tests processed and providing you with the results.


Drug testing for the most common illegal drugs is readily available, and some of the more difficult testing options can be incorporated at the customer’s request. Drug test kits for the most common tests require the individual being tested to supply a certain amount of urine, in a tube, vial, or small cup. Introduction of a fairly new test strip further ensure the laboratory that the urine provided is not “borrowed” and brought into the testing facility. Other common forms of test methods are saliva, hair and blood. Generally speaking, however, urine provides the most reliable results at the most economical expense.


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