Workplace Drug Testing Facts

  • Approximately 16% of the working population abuse drugs, representing more than three-quarters (76.4%) of all illicit drugservices_logo_drug1 users 18 and older. (Household Survey on Drug Abuse in America / SAMSHA )
  • Employees typically favor drug testing of workers in safety-sensitive jobs (95%), office workers (69%), health care workers (92%), and factory workers (81%)… they even favor drug testing of people in their “own occupations” (78%). (Gallup survey)
  • According to the American Council on Drug Education, drug abusers are 10 times more likely to miss work than those who are clean and sober.
  • The average company implementing drug testing reduced workplace
    injuries 51% within two years, and the average company can also effectively reduce workers’ compensation experience-rating modification factors in the first three years immediately following the implementation of a program. (“An Evaluation of Drug Testing in the Workplace: A Study of the Construction Industry,” Gerber, Cornell University & National Council on Compensation Insurance / NCCI). In 1983, less than one percent of employees were subject to drug testing.

    • The number one reason why employers in the construction industry
      drug test their employees and job applicants is to promote the safety of
      their workers and those who use the products and services. In
      addition, company officials believe that drug testing contributes
      positively to a company’s image and is an effective deterrent in
      preventing drug abuse.
    • The vast majority of respondents, whether or not they utilized drug
      testing, think substance abuse is a “moderately serious problem” in
      the construction industry.
    • Company officials generally believed their drug-testing programs had
      a positive impact in virtually every respect. The most positive impacts of
      the programs concerned the overall safety of the work environment,
      reductions in workers’ compensation costs, and the quality of job
  • Today, approximately 49 percent of full-time workers are subject to some from of workplace drug testing (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration)
  • 12% of workers say the have used illicit drugs within the past year (higher risk occupations: construction works, food preparers)
  • Drug use in the U.S. workforce continues to climb. (Quest Diagnostics’ Drug Testing Index)
  • Drug and alcohol abuse is one of the four top reasons for the rise in workplace violence. (ASIS presentation)
  • Self reported by drug abusers in the workplaceCurrently, 67% of major U.S. firms test for drugs to some degree. (American
    • 75% reported using drugs on the job.
    • 64% admitted drugs adversely affected their job performance.
    • 44% sold drugs to other employees.18% had stolen from co-workers
      to support their habit. (National Cocaine Hotline)
  • Management Association, June , 2000)
  • Drugs other than alcohol have been identified as factors in 18% of deaths
    among motor vehicle drivers. (Field Test of On-Site Drug Detection Devices
    Final Report — October 2000)

    • In Canada, drugs were involved in 36% of FATALLY INJURED
      DRIVERS (CASES), for the April 1999 to November 2001 period.
      Coroner, forensic laboratory and police accident records for 354 fatally
      injured drivers of passenger vehicles were matched. 17.8% drugs
      only, 12.4% alcohol and drugs. (The Contribution of Alcohol and Other
      Drugs Among Fatally Injured Drivers in Quebec: Some Preliminary
      Results C. Dussault1, M. Brault2 , J. Bouchard2 and A.M. Lemire2
    • 23 percent of the dead truck drivers test positive to stimulants,
      resulting in 20 per cent of the total road death total in Australia.
      Australian communities, FRIDAY, 16 AUGUST 2002, CANBERRA, BY
    • Saliva has the advantage of people being able to collect the sample
      themselves. They can be observed immediately, with virtually
      minimum health risks. … saliva is appropriate, because multiple
      studies prove… (drugs are) …detectable in the saliva for the first hour,
      and it is in the first hour that you are particularly impaired. (HOUSE OF
      COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, Reference: Substance abuse in Australian
      communities, FRIDAY, 16 AUGUST 2002, CANBERRA, BY AUTHORITY
    • At GM, drug using employees average 40 days sick leave each year,
      compared to 4.5 days for non-users

“Employers win most drug testing cases”

Employers prevail in 2/3 of the approximately 1,200 legal decisions involving drug testing on a state level and employers prevail 76% of the time on a federal level.

(Source: 2004-2005 Guide to State and Federal Drug Testing Laws)


Leave a Reply