The problem of drug use in the workplace has placed employers to implement and conduct company drug-testing policies. Along with five major drugs recommended for testing by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), steroid testing is now being conducted in many companies. Because of the concern for growing illicit market and prevalence of steroid abuse, along with the dangerous side effects of steroids, the Congress placed anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1991. This means that it is unlawful to possess or sell anabolic steroids without a valid medical prescription. Over the years, some states have implemented additional penalties and fines for illegal possession and use of anabolic steroids. The rising trends of smuggled anabolic steroids and clandestine illegal laboratories manufacturing steroids throughout the country also add to the problem of steroid abuse. The internet makes it even easier for people to obtain steroids as anyone can purchase steroids online without the need of a prescription. There are also several forms of anabolic steroids that contain androstenedione (“andro”) which can be purchased illegally without a prescription and are available in health food stores. This steroid precursor is converted by the body into an anabolic steroid, thus, it may increase the risk of harmful side effects brought about by steroid abuse. Whether it’s for enhancing physical strength needed for their profession, or for enhancing their image, the number of employees in the workplace using steroids is undoubtedly increasing.
The Pros vs. the Cons of Steroid Testing in the Workplace
The advantages of steroid testing in the workplace may seem more favorable to employers. Like any other drugs being tested and included in a company’s drug-free policy, testing for steroids can help employers to be in control of their companies. Employers can evaluate applicants or current employees on activities they are involved in outside the workplace. Many employers see drug-testing as a vital tool to secure the safety of the people in the workplace. Long-term effects of steroid abuse may include bouts of uncontrolled rage and aggression which can pose a danger not only to the user himself but also to other employees. Manic-like symptoms caused by steroids can lead to violence, along with episodes of extreme irritability and delusions. Steroid testing can also prevent accidents in the workplace. Employees under the influence of drugs like anabolic steroids often have impaired judgment and nervousness, which makes it difficult for them to concentrate on their work. Through drug-testing programs, employers can also help identify employees with drug problems. Many companies also include treatment and recovery programs in their company policies. This enables employees to be productive in the company once more. Though company steroid testing may offer certain benefits, many employees see the disadvantages of this policy. Mandating workplace drug tests is often viewed as an invasion of privacy for many individuals. Some employees see the concept of this policy as a means for employers to judge and discriminate applicants and current employees on activities that they participate in after work. In addition, employees may feel uncomfortable during the entire drug testing process. Many labor groups also see it as unconstitutional and violate the employees’ personal rights and freedom. Another disadvantage of steroid testing is the cost as it can be expensive for some companies. Employers have to be aware of possible repercussions of implementing drug testing programs in their company policy. There may be employees who would become less responsive to company regulations and may immensely dislike the policy especially if the employers force them to undergo the procedure.