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Just How Important is Workplace Drug Testing?

September 1, 2014

Just How Important is Workplace Drug Testing?

This month, The Pensacola News Journal released information about the arrest of a heavy equipment operator accused of being high on marijuana when a downtown building collapsed onto a thrift store, killing six people. This recent news concerning Sean Benschop, the drug-abusing equipment operator, in Philadelphia, may have you wondering about the importance of workplace drug testing.

If this Philadelphia news story does not already have you convinced, here are a few statistics that may assure you:

  • Drug abuse costs American industry over $140 billion annually. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • Employee drug abuse causes as much as 50% of all on-the-job accidents and up to 40% of employee theft.
  • Drug abusing employees are absent ten times more frequently than non-users.
  • The turnover rate for drug-abusing employees is 40% higher than clean employees.
  • 15% of manufacturing personnel, from CEO to line workers, admitted to using illicit drugs in the past year. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Over 90% of employees are in favor drug testing. (Gallup poll)

These rather shocking statistics do not include alcohol, but rather illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and non-medical use of prescription drugs.

With 10% of employed Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 admitting to illicit drug use, clearly drug abuse in the workforce is an issue that has remained persistent and present in American companies. Due to the high incidence rates, more manufacturing firms are incorporating the use of random drug testing. We think it is pivotal in the success of a company to recognize the importance of drug testing. Effective and random drug testing, in combination with education and employee assistance programs, grants a solution for workplace drug problems.


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