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Drug Testing Improves Productivity, Cuts Costs

Evolving drug laws, coupled with record-low unemployment rates, makes navigating drug testing a challenge for many employers.

Nearly 21 million Americans abuse drugs, prescription medication and alcohol, according to the National Safety Council, the nation’s leading safety advocate. Seventy-five percent of people struggling with addiction to alcohol, pain medication, marijuana and other substances are employed. The National Institutes of Health reports that drug abuse costs the U.S. economy $246 billion in decreased productivity, turnover and absenteeism, as well as medical costs and increased accidents, according to the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association, or DATIA. The construction, hospitality and foodservice industries have two times the number of employees with substance abuse problems, the NSC reports.

Making the decision to include pre-employment drug testing should not be taken lightly. Having a written policy about employee use of alcohol and drugs is key to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. Administrator training, and review of the policy by a lawyer, are also important to prevent employer liability.

Here are just a few reasons to include human resources policies to prevent drug abuse.

  • Maintain a safe work environment. On-the-job accidents occur when judgment is impaired. Ensuring workers are clear-headed and focused is the key to maintaining a safe workplace.
  • Increase worker productivity. Workers with substance use problems miss 50 percent more days of work annually than their peers. Employee turnover rates are high for people with substance use disorders.
  • Improve company culture. Pre-employment drug screening allows employers to determine if a candidate holds your company’s values and standards. Drug use can decrease employee morale and interfere with attention and concentration.
  • Abide by regulations. Many industries, including healthcare, transportation and government, have specific regulations for drug testing compliance.

Any Lab Test Now offers a variety of on-site testing options for employers nationwide. The direct access lab testing company can manage pre-employment drug testing, random testing programs, reasonable suspicion tests, post-incident and return-to-duty drug and alcohol testing. Any Lab Test Now is qualified to provide testing for the Department of Transportation as part of its Federally Mandated Urine Drug Test (5-Panel). This test is a laboratory-based test and includes a screen, confirmation and the review of a medical officer. The Healthcare Professional Drug Panel is specifically designed to test healthcare professionals for highly addictive prescription medications that are readily available at their workplace. The panel will determine the presence or absence of the most easily abused prescription drugs or their metabolites in the urine.

The most common pre-employment drug test is the Urine Drug Test (5-Panel), which checks for the presence of five drug metabolites including:

  1. Amphetamine/Methamphetamines
  2. Marijuana
  3. Cocaine
  4. Opiates
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP)

Any Lab Test Now offers other solutions, including options that test hair, fingernails and blood.

The company’s 10-drug panel tests may also include screenings for phencyclidine (PCP), methadone, propoxyphene and methaqualone.

Legalization of Marijuana

Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in 11 states as well as Washington, D.C. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the past year, according to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2018, an estimated 43.5 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana in the past year, the survey revealed.

Employers must decide if they will continue to have a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana and make sure their decision is reflected in their human resources policies. The National Institute of Drug Abuse contends that the negative impacts of marijuana on attention and memory can last long after the acute effects of the drug wear off. A study of postal workers found that employees who tested positive for marijuana on a pre-employment urine drug test had 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries and 75 percent greater absenteeism, compared with those who tested negative for marijuana use, NIDA reported.

Make a plan to improve employee safety and morale by relying on a drug-testing authority. Visit Any Lab Test Now to learn more about our business solutions designed to boost your company’s bottom line.