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How To Conduct Effective Drug Test At The Workplace


You can conduct occasional and random drug tests in the workplace. You can have blood tests, urine tests, or saliva tests to make sure if anyone uses drugs.

Drug abuse is a serious issue in the present world. This is even more serious if employees are taking drugs.

That is why many companies are willing to take drug tests to find out if any of their employees are taking illegal drugs. But this can go both ways. Just as finding a drug abuser brings benefit to the company, a false drug test can damage the bond between the employee and the company.

Many people think that drug tests are not required at the workplace, as there is no legal obligation towards it, and the process is a breach of privacy.

Effects Of Drug Abuse At Workplace

Drug abuse can have a severe impact on the workplace and can affect the performance of the employee and the company.

Those who abuse drugs cannot perform well. They often suffer from anxiety, depression, euphoria, dizziness, tiredness and remain absent from work very often. This impacts their performance. They also cannot behave properly with others, as they do not have the mindset to do so.

They are often found aggressive towards others. Furthermore, they lack moral ethics and conduct many crimes in the workplace, such as harassment or theft.

As they cannot perform well, the company cannot function well. The company needs either to get a replacement for the drug abuser or work without him. This can hamper the workflow.

Other employees also feel uncomfortable around drug abusers. So, if the company allows drug abusers in the office, many other normal employees feel insecure and might even be tempted to quit the job.

So all in all, drugs have some pretty severe impacts on the workplace. It is very important to hold drug tests at the workplace and have dedicated staff, equipment, and space for a random drug test.

Benefits Of Conducting Drug Tests At Work

The best benefit of a drug test is to find out if someone is abusing drugs and take steps to correct him. A drug abuser will not perform like a normal person. They are also prone to many workplace injuries.

So it is necessary to take protective steps if someone is found to be a drug abuser. This way, allow them to slowly discard their drug habit and help to improve their health. They will be able to perform properly. Any risk of suffering workplace injury will also be reduced.

A drug abuser also does not have many ethical standards. They misbehave with their co-workers,  often remain absent, and may even conduct small crimes such as theft. Others also do not feel comfortable working with them.

In a report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it was found that each year, companies face about $740 billion loss because of workplace productivity, health care, and crime-related expenses.

And most of the health care and crime-related expenses are spent on drug abusers. Conducting drug tests will prevent companies from facing such a huge monetary loss.

So, with all factors considered, it is quite beneficial for companies to have drug tests at work.

Recruitment And Drug Test

Nowadays, many companies and organizations have strict policies against drug abuse. So they have different drug tests for interviewees to find out if any of them use any sort of drugs.

This is a good way to check if anyone you are going to recruit is a drug abuser. Once it is done, you can screen the drug abusers out.

However, there is a loophole to that. According to the American Addiction Society, the effect of drugs stays in a human body from two to seven days depending on the drug type. So, a person can get past the drug test if they simply stop taking drugs 7 days before the interview.

There is a solution to this. Alongside taking the drug test in the interview, the recruiters should also inform the interviewee that the company will randomly do drug tests and whether they have any problem with it.

If they have a problem, it is better to avoid recruiting them. If not, then that person is good to go.

Develop A Drug Test Program At Workplace

Now, to conduct drug tests at the workplace, you need to develop a program. This is necessary as there is a great possibility of drug abusers present in your company.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), about 70 percent of drug abusers are employed. So it is very likely that a few of those drug abusers are employed in your company.

To develop a drug test program, you will need

  • Protocols for the drug test
  • Policies on drug usage
  • Drug Testing Guidelines
  • The consequence of violating the drug use policy

Now, with the policy developed, you will need a medical team who can draw the specimen. The specimen should be sent to a drug-testing laboratory. After getting the drug test result from the laboratory, the medical team will provide it to the higher authority, and they can decide action afterward.

When To Conduct A Drug Test

Now, the right time to do a drug test depends on some factors. The factors involved in the drug test include:

1. Drug Suspicion

If any employee behaves, talks, appear or smell in a way that makes you suspect the person as a drug abuser, then that person should go through a drug test.

2.  Random Testing

This is a common testing method for many companies. Employees are chosen randomly for a drug test. Anyone can be selected at any time. So, this helps the employees remain drug and alcohol-free all the time.

3. Post-accident Testing

If an employee falls victim to an accident because of drug abuse, then that employee needs to have a drug test. However, this type of test can only be done if there is solid proof that the accident happened because of drug abuse.

4. Return-to-duty Testing

If an employee is tested positive for drug abuse, then he should be sent to a rehabilitation center. If he comes back and joins the company, he must go through a test, known as Return-to-duty or RTD test.

5. Follow-up Testing

This is a follow-up to the RTD testing. To make sure that the employee has completely stopped his drug abuse, the follow-up tests are done.

Different Methods Of Drug Testing

With the advancement of technology, there are various methods of conducting a drug test. Here is a list of some popular ones:

1. Blood Testing

A blood test is much more expensive than other methods. However, it provides the most accurate results. The blood test is also invasive, and this is mostly used for legal investigations. Doing Blood test for workplace employees is not the ideal method.

2. Urine Testing

This is the least expensive method for a drug test. They are also the most common one. This being a noninvasive drug testing method, it is very effective for workplace employees.

3. Saliva Testing

Saliva testing is a little expensive than the Urine test, but not as much as a blood test. This is also a noninvasive type of testing. So suitable for workplace employees.

This gives accurate results if someone has been using drugs recently. However, getting the result takes quite some time.

4. Hair Testing

Hair testing is one that was discovered to cover up the shortfall in Saliva testing. Saliva testing does not provide accurate data if someone used drugs more than a week ago. But hair testing does.

This is why hair testing is the best choice for finding out if someone has been taking drugs for a long time. This testing is also on the expensive side.

The Disadvantages Of Drug Test

Yes, even though it sounds strange, there are some disadvantages to doing a drug test. As mentioned before, only blood tests provide the most accurate result.

But that is very expensive and companies might not be willing to spend so much money behind each employee. So they are stuck with cheaper and less accurate methods.

These methods are very easy to falsify, and with careful planning, a drug abuser can come out clean after going through the non-expensive drug tests.

Since this is a failed drug test, the employee can sue the company for harassment since there are no legal laws for conducting drug tests. This can look like invading an individual’s rights or privacy. So, the person can file a complaint against the company for invading their privacy.

Final Thoughts

Conducting drug tests at the workplace is like a double-edged sword. It has its fair share of benefits; however, it is not free of disadvantages. But with all things considered, even if there are some disadvantages, the benefits are far too great to ignore. So it is always best to conduct drug tests when someone acts like a drug abuser.