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Drug Testing in the Workplace

Due to absenteeism, accidents, medical-liability and healthcare expenditures, substance-abusing employees cost employers more than $100 billion annually. Obviously substance-abusing employees represent a major problem for society. According to one survey conducted by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) found that 70% of illegal drug users are employed full-time. Such figures help define workplace substance abuse as a major social problem. Employee substance abuse is responsible for billions of dollars in preventable costs to employers, the health care industry, and society. For this reason, it is critical that substance abuse prevention programs for the workplace are tested and developed.

One of the surest ways to develop effective substance abuse prevention programs for the workplace is a review of the research pertaining to a variety of challenges faced by such a goal. There are a number of challenges in testing and developing such programs. These include hitting the target audience with prevention information, handling employer concerns, gathering substance use data from organizations, accessing and using records, and employee concerns. In 1988 as part of the omnibus anti-drug legislation, Congress enacted the Drug-Free Workplace Act. The Act mandates certain federal contractors and grantees establish a drug-free workplace. Some of the requirements of the Act include: establishing a drug education and drug awareness program; notifying appropriate federal agencies of employee convictions for drug-related crimes; and, taking appropriate personnel action against workplace substance abuse.

One of the more controversial issues in the workplace due to such legislation is mandatory drug testing. Drug-testing presents its own array of challenges to employers hoping to maintain a drug-free workplace. However, it also presents an array of challenges for employees and society, including the right to priv...

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Drug Testing in the Workplace. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:16, August 03, 2020, from