Drug abuse is becoming an epidemic. As many as two-thirds of those who report misusing pain medication are currently employed. Drug users can put a strain on your office, such as dragging down productivity as well as putting themselves and your other employees at risk.
Because of this, some businesses are implementing a zero-tolerance drug policy. They will randomly choose one or two employees a month to be drug tested. Those who fail are fired.
Random drug testing requires hiring a third-party company to select the worker(s) for that month and conduct the test. Drug users are estimated to cost businesses nearly twice as much in healthcare expenses as their clean co-workers; that expense is in addition to the cost of the drug screening.
This policy must be well publicized so all employees know they could be selected. It is the hope that random drug screenings will both deter employees from abusing drugs and reassure your clean employees that you are doing all you can to provide them with a safe workplace.
The National Safety Council estimates that 57 percent of all employers perform drug tests. Of those, 40 percent do not screen for synthetic opioids like oxycodone, which unfortunately is a widely abused narcotic.
Of the employers surveyed by the National Safety Council, 29 percent reported impaired job performance due to prescription painkiller use. About 15 percent indicated that they had an injury or near miss due to drugs, and as many as 70 percent of employers said their workforce was affected by drugs in some way.
Starting next month, most federal employees will be required to complete drug tests as well as an extensive screening. While private companies are not required to follow these new guidelines, many are choosing to.
New-Hire Drug Screening
Hiring a new employee only to have them leave a few days later because of a drug addiction is a waste of time and energy. A seasoned and well-performing employee must take time out of their busy day to train the new employee. Drug testing before employees are hired can help deter drug users from completing the application process.
While these measures can help, they cannot guarantee that you will not hire or continue to employ a drug user. Offering counseling and rehabilitation services in your benefits packages can help your employees who are suffering with addiction get help.