Alcohol and drug abuse may be affecting your business, and you might not even know it. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 70% of all illicit drug users between the ages of 18-49 are employed full-time. In the full-time workforce, 6.6% of workers are heavy drinkers, with occasional drinkers causing 60% of alcohol-related work performance issues.
Substance abuse in the workplace has a substantial effect on employers, their employees, customers, and the public. The problem costs American businesses upwards of 80 billion dollars each year, and puts the safety of the substance-abusing employee and those around them at risk. There is clear reason to be concerned about whether employees are affected by drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
Addressing employees’ substance use can have positive results for employers and everyone in the workplace, including employees who use drugs or alcohol. Here are the top 10 reasons to implement a drug testing program in your workplace.
Lower substance abuse amongst company employees
Drug testing and programs that assist employees who are struggling with substance abuse issues can decrease the prevalence of drug use. Pressure from an employer can lead to higher recovery rates and improved job performance in those who seek treatment for a substance abuse problem.
Prevent hiring those who use illicit drugs
The most common time for an employer to require drug testing is during the hiring process. Those who use illegal substances are less likely to apply for jobs where they know the employer requires drug testing. Further, test results can help employers screen out any drug users who do apply, reducing the risk for recurring substance use issues among new hires.
Improve employee retention
Individuals who use illegal drugs are more likely to change jobs frequently. In fact, one study found that two out of three drug users had worked in three or more jobs over the past five years.
Improve employee satisfaction and safety on the job
One in five employees say that, because of their coworkers’ drinking, they have been put in danger or injured, or have had to cover for the coworker, redo their work, or work longer hours. Testing for drugs and alcohol can make the workplace better for all employees by helping prevent these issues.
In addition to reducing mistakes and other performance issues due to drug or alcohol intoxication, drug testing programs can also reduce absenteeism and unscheduled leave.
Protect customers and the public
Employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have unpredictable and inappropriate behavior, be the cause of more accidents, and be more likely to commit crimes on the job. Ensuring that your employees are not under the influence protects your customers and the public, and helps protect your business from liability for any damages that could result from an intoxicated employee’s actions.
Improve brand image
When consumers are aware that your company has a drug testing program in place, this knowledge can improve their perception of the brand’s quality and reputation. In addition, reducing drug and alcohol use in your workplace means that customers are less likely to encounter employees who are under the influence. Drug testing programs help ensure your employees’ actions reflect your company’s values.
Comply with local, state, and federal laws
Certain federal laws govern drug testing programs in the United States. Municipal and state regulations may also apply to your business. It is important to ensure your employee drug testing program is in compliance with all applicable laws. For some safety-sensitive industries, drug testing of employees is required by law.
Reduce employee healthcare and insurance expenses
By reducing the use of drugs and alcohol in your workforce, you also reduce the chances of injuries and illnesses related to substance use. This can mean lower worker’s compensation premiums and fewer days of medical leave.
Assist employees struggling with substance dependence and addiction
Depending on your company’s policies, testing positive for illicit substances on the job can result in consequences or termination. In many cases, however, employers choose to avoid the cost of recruiting and training a new hire, and instead offer assistance to struggling employees. This may include providing resources and requiring that the employee seek rehabilitation services.
As medical and public understanding of addiction increases, employers who enforce a drug- and alcohol-free environment and who offer support to those struggling with a substance use disorder can create a positive social impact and gain a greater reputation in the eyes of their customers and employees.
Drug testing services are offered at all of our occupational health clinics. Working in cooperation with SAMHSA Labs and employing certified MROs (medical review officers) to analyze all test results, we provide accurate, confidential results to our clients. For more information about Physicians Immediate Care’s drug testing services, see our list of available tests or contact us today.