Drug Testing In The Workplace Essay

1885 words - 8 pages

“Welcome to our team Mr. Dave Matthews. Here at Vandalay Industries, we take pride in hiring the highest caliber of workers such as yourself, and to ensure the safety of all our employees in the latex factory, we ask that you pee in to this plastic cup.” While this may not be the best way to bring about a company’s drug testing policy to a new hire, the fact remains that in most every position today, if no urine sample is given, it translates into “no job for you!” Drug testing, a once rare and uncommon policy, is now among many employers a requirement for any new or existing job position. Although seen by some as an infringement on one’s constitutionally granted rights, companies who have adopted these policies say that it works to cut down on company revenue losses, reduces job-related injuries, and offers peace of mind for both employees and consumers alike. Nevertheless, those in opposition to drug testing argue that its costs far outweigh its benefits, saying that drug tests are unfair, unnecessary, and lead to a society where “Big Brother is watching over you” (Jussim 2). Regardless of these unfounded accusations by opponents, the fact remains that drug testing is essential to a safe and productive drug-free work environment.

What in the end do we have to fear of drug testing? Well, quite frankly, the drug-free have absolutely nothing to fear aside from temporary embarrassment, while the drug users have absolutely everything to fear, most importantly their job. It is this very idea that brings up one of the first advantages of drug testing, that of saving lives. According to Grimsley, a staff writer from the Washington Post, “The risk of failing a drug test may actually cause some workers to give up illegal drugs entirely, particularly if they have just used them recreationally, and prods others to recognize they have a substance-abuse problem and seek help through company-provided employee assistance programs” (Grimsley 3). Supporting Grimsley’s statement, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reports that in 1985, 9.7% of Americans used marijuana and 3% used cocaine. Since then, the numbers have dropped dramatically to 4.7% and .8% respectively. Furthermore, during that same period, the percentage of full-time employees testing positive for illicit drugs has fallen from 17.5% to 7.4% (Burn 4).

This alone is evidence enough that drug testing is worthwhile and appropriate. It is estimated that employers lose up to $100 billion annually in lost productivity due to drug use.And on the average, it costs an employer only $25-$35 to test an employee for drugs, according to the American Management Association (Allison 1). Because of this, employers site many other reasons for testing, such as smaller absentee rates, cheaper insurance rates, less medical claims, less theft, less job-related injuries and decreased risks of lawsuits (Jussim 12). A government study, which reveals that 1 out of 6 workers...

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