Benefits of Drug Testing in the Workplace    


The Defense Information Systems Agency cites a study by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), which states that seventy per cent of the 14.8 million Americans with drug use problems are employed. For the safety of employees and customers, drug testing is beneficial since it deters drug use. Drug users are vulnerable, susceptible to opportunistic diseases, and often show signs of irresponsibility. Additionally, there is a tendency for deviance, immaturity, irrationality, and engagement in risky behaviour. Drug use is invariably linked to social disintegration, chaotic co-existence, and disorderliness, which are all antitheses for rationality in an organisation. Proponents of drug testing are right because it ensures employees’ and customers’ safety and ensures that drug use costs are decreased.

Drug testing in the workplace is a method of eliminating undesired individuals from the company and limiting the high costs of insurance premiums and damages due to injuries. Therefore, by accepting the terms and conditions guiding employment in most firms, the employee directly agrees to a company’s right to regularly test them for drug use (Goplerud, Eric, Hodge, and Benham 1064). Firms that conduct drug testing exercise benefit from minimised costs and incentives offered by health insurance companies, which reduces the organisations’ operational costs and increases their profitability. Firms’ costs due to drug use are associated with high employee turnover, absenteeism, violence and crime, workplace accidents, low productivity, insurance and medical costs, reduced employee morale, poor decision-making, and compromised workplace security. Through drug testing, companies will avoid such costs by ensuring that employees with evidence of drug use are not part of the company.

Studies conducted on drug use and its effects on organisational performance indicate that substance use among employees in the workplace imposes high costs to companies regarding reduced productivity, high rates of absenteeism, and increased workplace accidents (Carpenter 795). Opponents of drug testing often justify their position based on employees’ right to privacy, which when breached, has an adverse effect on employee morale, attitude towards work, and overall behaviour (Comer 261). However, employers can deal with the ethical aspects of drug testing that focus on their invasive nature by ensuring that all aspects of the testing policies are based on empirical evidence, connected rationally to the objective of workplace safety (Christie 172). When employees test positive for drug use, they should obtain the rehabilitation support and treatment that they need to solve their drug use problem and obtain an opportunity to reform.

The benefits of conducting drug tests on employees to companies are reduced healthcare costs, improved morale, increased productivity, and high overall performance. Companies that aim to attain these benefits should institute strict drug policies that prevent their staff from substance abuse and enforce the regulations through mandatory testing. Additionally, drug testing reduces absenteeism, accidents, turnover, theft, and downtime in the workplace. Furthermore, conducting drug tests allows firms to comply with various federal and state-level regulations, increases an employer’s ability to identify and refer an employee with substance use problem to a health care institution, and ensure workplace safety.

Works Cited

Carpenter, Christopher. “Workplace Drug Testing and Worker Drug Use.” Health Services Research vol. 42, no. 2, 2007, pp. 795-810.

Christie Timothy. “A Discussion of the Ethical Implications of Random Drug Testing in the Workplace.” Healthcare Management Forum vol. 28, no. 4, 2005, pp. 172-174.

Goplerud, Eric, Sarah Hodge, and Tess Benham. “A Substance Use Cost Calculator for US Employers with an Emphasis on Prescription Pain Medication Misuse.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine vol. 59, no. 11, 2017, pp. 1063-1071.


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