Seventy-four percent of current drug users are employed. This means that more than 10 million employees use illicit drugs, making the workplace an important environment in which to intervene with drug users and to help prevent employees from starting to use illegal drugs.

One method of identifying employees who use illicit drugs is through drug testing in the workplace. Drug testing sends a strong message that you support non-drug using employees to remain drug-free and encourage occasional drug users to stop.

A recent Gallop poll of employees found that 97 percent agreed that workplace drug testing is appropriate under certain circumstances and 85 percent believed that urine testing may deter illicit drug use. Thus, testing for the right reasons has the support of most employees, and there is evidence that drug testing helps prevent illicit drug use.

“Workplace Safety” is the reason most commonly given by employers for drug testing. Testing has been suggested for prospective and current employees in industry; for the armed forces; for parolees and bail seekers; for transportation industry employees; and for professional athletes, who are often role models for young people.

Workplace drug testing is used in five different ways:

  1. Pre-employment
  2. Post-accident or for-cause testing
  3. Scheduled testing (routine physicals)
  4. Random testing
  5. Drug Treatment follow-up testing (used for monitoring an employee’s success in remaining drug-free)

Urine screening can be a useful tool in identifying employees with potential drug problems. The majority of the largest employers in the United States have adopted urine screening and approximately 20% of employed Americans have a drug testing policy in their workplace.

Statistics show that a comprehensive prevention program in the workplace with education and training programs for workers and supervisors, drug testing, and the availability of treatment services reduces drug use, and improves health, safety and productivity. Implementing a drug-testing program can be an important part of your comprehensive approach to establishing a drug-free workplace.