Workplace Drug Testing BLOG

Drug addiction has become such a menace to society. Quite a number of regulations have been implemented in the hopes of eradicating the manufacture, distribution, and trade of these illicit substances but these illicit substances still find their way to the streets. This is the main reason why drug testing has become an important tool for industries and workplaces, for the sake of safety and productivity.

The Worsening State of Illegal Drug Use

Illicit drugs such as cocaine have reached the highest positivity rate in 12 years, according to a 2017 analysis of more than 10 million workforce drug test results in the U.S.

It has gotten to the point that more drug manufacturers are formulating new synthetic products to lure users and increase their profits while making it difficult for the authorities to catch them. Along with the ever-shifting drug formulation, many of these substances come in various street names, making it even more complicated to pinpoint which ones are illegal.

In an industry perspective, it is equally important to keep the workplace as safe and as healthy for everyone as possible. As a result, federal law requires certain industries to implement drug testing to ensure the safety of the public.

Advantages of Drug Testing

Not everyone may be favorable to drug testing in the workplace. Some employees think that it is a violation of their right to privacy. However, working certain industries involves agreeing to drug testing on the basis of public safety.

Drug testing has many advantages, some of which include the following:

  • It ensures employee safety
  • It increases productivity
  • It lessens absenteeism
  • It helps reduce the potential legal liability of employers
  • It helps employees with drug problems
  • It lessens employee turnover and reduced recruitment costs
  • It reduces potential workplace conflict and violence
  • It helps educate workers about the dangers of drugs
  • It improves staff morale
  • It creates a healthier workplace
  • It boosts the reputation of the company or organization
  • It reduces employee theft or fraud

The Significance of Drug Testing in Certain Industries

One of the most critical requirements for employers and their employees is to maintain a healthy and safe work environment. It is essential for each member of the workforce to be efficient and productive, and a drug testing policy can improve the likelihood of these things to happen.

Drug testing could draw the line between a positive workforce and a discouraged set of employees. However, drug testing ensures that the health and well-being of its employees are accounted for. Each organization naturally wants to create a good reputation to the general public, and drug testing increases the likelihood of providing the best services that they can offer.

By following local, state, and federal laws, private employers can implement workplace drug testing. Additionally, federal agencies may assist companies in setting up workplace drug testing policies to ensure a drug-free work environment.

Mandated by Executive Order 12564 and Public Law 100-71, the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program is a comprehensive program that:

  • Addresses illegal drug use by federal employees
  • Certifies executive agency drug-free workplace plans
  • Identifies safety-sensitive positions subject to random drug testing

Transportation Industry

The transportation industry has the biggest impact in terms of public safety. It covers critical processes such as moving the public from one point to another via air, water, rail or road.

Due to the nature of work, drivers tend to find ways to keep themselves awake all the time. Unfortunately, some of them turn to illegal drugs as a way of making them stay alert while at work particularly during long hours of travel. According to a 2013 study, about 30 percent of truck drivers admitted to amphetamine use.

While the initial effects of certain drugs may make them feel awake for longer hours, the long-term effects may not be as favorable. This may eventually affect their decision-making process, which makes the public more prone to meeting accidents.

The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 helps address the rising rate of substance abuse in the U.S. and the general safety of people who travel within the country. This act mandates transportation industry employers to establish and maintain alcohol- and drug-free workplace programs that integrate both alcohol and drug testing.

Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry continues to have a high percentage of workers who use illicit drugs. This industry includes hotels, restaurants, and other similar service businesses.

According to a survey taken by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on employees in the hotel/motel sector:

  • 10 percent admitted to heavy or constant alcohol use
  • 17 percent admitted to using some type of illicit drug within the past year
  • 3 percent admitted to using some type of illicit drug within the last month

Among the workers in restaurants, clubs and food hubs, more than 16% admitted to illegal drugs use in the past month and about 28% admitted to using illegal drugs in the last year.

Among the occupations connected to this industry, the employees most hooked on drugs are food preparers, and the least are the maids.

The indiscriminate use of drugs in the hospitality industry poses health risks to the public. Employees under the influence of drugs may serve unsatisfactory food, cause accidents in the kitchen while doing their work, or steal from hotel patrons.

By instituting a drug testing program, hospitality companies can achieve the following:

  • Confirm the country’s reputation as one of the world’s most hospitable destinations for international travelers
  • Increase the safety of their employees
  • Increase the satisfaction of their guests
  • Reduce liability
  • Strengthen profitability

Healthcare Industry

The hospital is one of the most stressful places to work, having to work long hours and without many breaks. What’s worse is that professionals in this industry are exposed to an endless supply of prescription drugs. Sadly, some of these professionals may abuse these drugs to get through the day.

The healthcare industry is one of the significant industries that every citizen will be needing sometime in the future. Therefore, it is only right that all members of the healthcare industry should be healthy themselves. That way, they can provide the rightful service that a sick individual may need and avoid putting patients at risk.

Having an alcohol- and a drug-free program ensures that each patient can be given proper care and can be provided with substantial information regarding their conditions. It can also uplift the spirits of patients who may have lost hope on how they can overcome their medical conditions.

Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-513, 84 Stat. 1236 (Oct. 27, 1970) is a United States federal law that, with subsequent modifications, requires the pharmaceutical industry to maintain physical security and strict record keeping for certain types of drugs.

It has become a common problem for certain medicines to disappear, and those in charge of keeping them apparently do not have any idea where the drugs are. Suspicions may arise that these drugs are either being stolen unknown to the administrators or the administrators themselves are the ones selling them to others without prescription.

Construction Industry

Under federal law, individuals working in the construction industry should undergo drug testing to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. However, it has been reported that the construction industry is among the sectors of the workforce with the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse where employees are between 18 years old and 49 years old.

According to a study, at least 12% were reported to have used illicit drugs for the past 30 days, while close to 21% were reported to have used illicit drugs during the past year. Therefore, it is obvious just how many construction workers are deeply involved with such substances, which could create public fear for safety.

Being hooked on drugs may result in long-term effects that can affect judgment or decision making. Not having a clear mind while at work increases the risk of accidents for the drug users and their co-workers.

Illicit drug use should not be tolerated in any way as it endangers everyone. Coming to work high on drugs can decrease productivity and affect the quality of work. Imagine miscalculating the sizes of beams for a building or using the wrong consistency for concrete – this may cause a weak building structure.

Safety- and security-sensitive industries are obliged to adhere to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. With the help of this federal regulation, employers can come up with company policies, which include the desire to maintain a drug-free workplace.

Manufacturing Industry

This industry plays a significant part in the country’s economy. It is through this industry that we are able to boost domestic revenues by providing high quality products that the country exports to different countries.

Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry is among those industries with the highest rate of employee drug use. At least 15% of workers admitted to having used illicit substances for the past 30 days and 7% confessed of being heavy alcohol drinkers, based on figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Being involved with drugs and alcohol does not only endanger the workers and clients, but it also creates a negative reputation for the country. By ensuring that all factories and manufacturing firms are free from these substances, the U.S. can keep the highest quality of craftsmanship.

The Controlled Substances Act, Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of certain narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids and other chemicals are regulated. This was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on October 27, 1970.

Under this regulation, five schedules are used to classify drugs based upon their abuse potential, medical applications, and safety. Individuals who order, handle, store, and distribute controlled substances must be registered with the DEA to perform these functions.


Creating a drug and alcohol-free program in the workplace, regardless of the industry, can significantly contribute to a more productive workforce and a much safer workplace. By keeping drugs off the workplace, increased profitability and success isn’t far behind.