Last updated: November 27, 2023
According to the Current Consulting Group’s most recent Employer Drug Testing Survey, employers across the nation can count on the fact that workplace drug use is a reflection of which drugs are prevalent on the streets of the community. A whopping 76% of the data gathered for the group’s annual Drugs at Work survey was comprised of mostly smaller employers with 500 or fewer employees. Only 7% of the contributors employed 10,000 plus workers.
The majority of companies in the United States are small businesses so the survey offers a clear representation of drug trends that are occurring in America’s workplaces. It also addresses concerns and may predict some upcoming changes in regard to drug testing methods used in the future.
Depending on where you live
Of course, for some people cost is not an option, and enough money exchanging hands ensures special delivery. The average drug user isn’t going to be able to afford to operate in that fashion, however. Most drug users, likely turned addicts at some point, struggle to stay on top of normal living expenses in addition to supporting their drug habits. Flying in a personal stash special order isn’t happening.
Drug availability can differ depending on what region of the country you live in. That means what is available on the streets in Las Vegas may not be the case in a city located in the southern United States. Moreover, this is especially true when considering the difference between urban and rural areas. The latest drugs hitting the streets in big cities generally take longer to get to rural communities. Of course, there is really no way to determine exactly how long that will be overall. Despite how long it takes, though, the damage done when they arrive is just as destructive.
Lives are ruined, and loved ones are lost.
Some things never change
The reasons employers gave for drug testing their employees haven’t changed over the years. The number one reason remains to promote a safe and healthy workplace for all. This reasoning carries even further for those who work with the public in any fashion. For instance, truckers are on the streets and highways constantly. Drug testing helps ensure that the general public can travel those roads constantly and be safe, as well.
And, this makes an excellent segue for the second reason given for employee drug testing. That is to remain in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. The Department of Transportation (DOT), for example, mandates that employers drug test their drivers under a number of circumstances. If the regulations aren’t followed to the “t,” fines can begin to add up pretty quickly.
Employers also still agree that promoting a drug-free workplace boosts productivity. One reason is that people who are messed up on drugs at work don’t accomplish much as a rule. Also, the employees who don’t use drugs appreciate the fact that employers are looking out for their best interests. It causes them to feel more satisfied with their career choice and the company where they chose to work. They care that you care and it shows in increased productivity levels.
For the record, employers enjoy other benefits that include lowered rates of absenteeism and tardiness.
Will urine tests stay #1?
Possibly. It remained the number one drug testing method with 87% of employers reporting they used that test. Instant urine tests came in second with 42% of employers choosing to go this route instead of traditional laboratory testing.
The majority of employees don’t do drugs so unless mandated by state or federal governments, employers use these tests to look for the negative result. In the event that an employee tests positive, we suggest your drug testing policies reflect that the specimen will be sent off to a certified laboratory for confirmation testing.
Even though it’s the most costly method of employee drug testing, the hair follicle test was used by 26% of the companies participating in the survey. It’s unique in that it offers employers a 90-day period to look for drug use. Employers looking for habitual drug use are obviously beginning to value that information over the cost of the test.
Looking forward to the future, oral fluid testing is on point to continue rising as a contender for the urine test as well. The percentage rose from 12 to 14 percent in a year’s time. The DOT approved oral fluid testing earlier this year but, at the moment, no laboratories have been certified to handle the tests. It’s expected to happen by early 2024 at the latest though. After safety-sensitive employers get the green light, we may see a big shift in the numbers almost immediately!
A huge reason to continue
The 2021 Drugs at Work survey uncovered something of which every employer in the nation should be made aware. When pre-employment drug testing went down during 2020, the number of positive post accident drug tests went up. And, regarding companies that don’t drug test vs companies that do, post accident positivity rates were double the rate in non-testing companies over those that did.
Should we say it again for those in the back?
Employee drug testing has a positive effect on the company and the community. Fewer workplace accidents mean that fewer families in the community are negatively affected by someone who abuses drugs. In today’s world, promoting a drug-free workplace and testing employees for drug use is saying something to drug users. Let’s keep speaking it loud and clear.