Medical and recreational marijuana use is coming to more and more states, the abuse of methamphetamines and prescription opioids continues to rise, and alcohol is always a possible problem for workplaces. Employers who drug test have been able to reduce the impact well enough that those who have never tested for drugs can see the data and are seriously considering a change. Employees who abuse drugs are in a ceaseless hunt for ways to game the system and cheat the tests.
It’s easy for both camps to fall for drug-testing myths. Let’s shine the bright light of truth on a few of the most popular.
“My company doesn’t need to test for drugs—it’s a waste of time and money.”
You couldn’t be more wrong, and that’s not just opinion; it’s statistically supported fact. Seventy-five percent of all substance abusers are employed, a majority of them full time, so chances are at least a few of them work for you. Check out some of the ways even a handful of such employees can cost you:
- one in six workplace fatalities involves drugs
- substance abusers cut productivity by up to 30 percent
- employees who abuse drugs are 5 times more likely seek workman’s compensation
- substance abusers cost U.S. companies $80 billion/year
“If I test for drugs, my employees will think I don’t trust them and it will lower workplace morale.”
Studies have shown that in actuality, the opposite is true. When employees understand the dangers of substance abuse in the workplace and the fact that testing is a sign of your concern for their health and safety, trust doesn’t become an issue. A program introduced in clear, compassionate terms, including an expressed desire to assist employees with drug problems, will actually have a positive impact on morale. If it hurts morale at all, it would be that of drug using employees when they discover they might be caught. Is that really what the business should be considering?
“Designing a program and implementing drug testing will take too much time and effort and take employees away from the job for hours on end.”
This is not necessarily true. Mobile drug testing companies will not only design legally compliant testing and training programs for your company’s specific needs, they also bring the lab right to your door, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They “do the busywork” part of the job so you don’t have to, and employee downtime is virtually eliminated.
“Drug testing infringes on my rights.”
The courts have consistently ruled otherwise, coming down firmly on the side of your employer’s right to drug test. Many states even offer financial incentives to companies working to maintain a drug-free workplace. Illegal drugs can still be a choice an employee makes, but working at a workplace doesn’t mean someone has to pay for that illegal drug use. Believing it doesn’t affect your work doesn’t make that the truth and employers have a right to keep their workplace safer and free of it.
“My drug test could come up positive, even though I don’t use drugs.”
False positives only result when there are several failures compounded in not just the testing, but the review, reporting, and evaluation of the test results. Accredited labs with chromatographic testing can tell the difference between poppy seeds and prescription drugs. This myth dates back to the earliest days of drug testing, but somehow the stories about false positives haven’t evolved as rapidly as the testing technology. There are “best practice” procedures in place that make false positives a thing of the past. Results also require validation by a medical review officer. The drug testing company doesn’t fire employees. It presents scientific results.
“I can beat a drug test.”
No, you can’t. Like false positives, “cheating” a drug test requires several failures in the testing procedure, not just one, and none of the ways found on the internet are unknown to testing companies. Testing has become extremely sophisticated.
- Drinking a lot of water or popping diuretics won’t work, because while those tricks do dilute the metabolites in your urine, they also dilute creatinine, so your test will be flagged.
- Messing up your urine with bleach, Draino, or something you bought off the ‘net won’t work, because those chemicals can be detected.
- Chugging vinegar won’t work, because it lowers your urine’s pH, and it will be flagged.
- Using a synthetic would require it to look and smell like urine, but also be the correct temperature, not too cold or too hot and also requires successfully smuggling in both the synthetic and the delivery device, which is looked for by test collectors.
Get the point? Drug testing works, and that’s no myth.