Workplace Drug Testing in Financial Jobs

Workplace drug testing, according to Sam Ciulla (VP of National Application Processing and Screening or NAPS) is important in order to lessen the impact of drug abuse in the workplace. He reiterated that drug abuse may result to employee tardiness, absenteeism, attitude problems and even theft. This then leads to an approximate annual loss amounting in between $75 billion to $100 billion dollars.

Ciulla’s statement explains that there is indeed a need for workplace drug testing. In this case, let us know more about how rampant drug abuse is in the financial sector. Likewise, let us see the most common drugs that concern financial jobs or employment in investment banks and insurance companies.

Facts about drug abuse in the financial sector

We can divide this into two sections, namely:

1. Drug abuse statistics in the financial sector. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in 2005, out of the 17.2 million illicit drug users in the country, 12.9 million were employed either part or full time. The same agency also said that 10% of the country’s workers who die on the job were tested positive with drug or alcohol abuse.

How rampant is drug abuse in the financial sector? According to E-Financial News report, two percent of those who underwent drug testing in 2009 failed the tests. The percentage may be minimal when compared to the retail industry’s 4.1% yet this number can grow in the years to come considering that nowadays, more financial workers resort to the use of marijuana.

2. Most common drugs that concern financial jobs. The article published by Wall Street Journal via E-Financial News indicated that investment professionals have choices when it comes to drug abuse. In the past, these financial workers used to favor cocaine over other drugs but nowadays, they turn their backs from this drug and liked marijuana more.

In 2007, 16% of financial workers favored the use of cocaine. This was down to only 7% of those who were tested positive with drug abuse in 2009. The use of marijuana within the financial sector jumped from 64% in 2007 to 80% in 2009. This is among those tested positive for drug use in the industry.

Why is there a need for workplace drug screening in financial jobs?

The same report mentioned that there are things to note when it comes to drug abuse in the financial industry. First, more investment bankers are prone to addiction (although employers do not admit that). The reason behind this generalization is the fact that these individuals receive a huge sum in their paychecks plus their jobs are more stressful when compared to others. The worst is the fact that investment bankers seem to be good at hiding their addictions.

It was noted that there is only a small number of investment professionals who are dependent on drugs. However, with the reasons explained in the previous paragraph, it is important for financial company owners to introduce workplace drug testing within their respective organizations.