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Published On: Tue, Aug 29th, 2017

Why Drug Testing is Important for Businesses

Many companies who deem drugs use to be detrimental in the workplace are now taking measures to stress the importance of drug tests. There are several reasons why, even with the additional costs, there is an increasing number of companies who are doing drug screening with some workplaces go as far as requiring employees to sign a contract to adhere to random drug testing throughout the year.

photo TheAndrasBarta Pixabay

Cost

Generally, companies spend around $25 to $50 per employee for drug testing. Where the price falls in the spectrum is mainly determined by 3 main factors: volume, specimen collection and the type of specimen to be tested.

The number of employees to be tested and the instances of random drug testing that is required annually affects how a testing agency offers its prices. For instance, a company with 5,000 to 10,000 employees offers lower prices than to a company with 50 to 100 employees.

The “cost for collection” is always included in the price quote for drug testing. Agencies that are able to collect and test specimens at sites near the company’s location are able to offer lower rates for drug testing per employee.

Most workplaces favor urine testing primarily due to its cost efficiency. Urine testing generally costs a company around $25 to $50. Drug testing for blood specimen cost around $50 to $80. This method, however, is only used during extreme cases such as the subject being unconscious or when ordered by the court.  Hair testing costs about $105 to $125 and its advocates claim that it is a more effective measure as it can indicate drug use as far back as 90 days. Due to its high cost, not a lot of workplaces use this method.  

Companies who prefer more cost-effective measures may also opt to purchase drug testing kits online, which are generally cheaper and more convenient to use.

Productivity

Independent studies from various government agencies, nonprofits and universities all agree that drug use can decrease productivity in the workplace. Drug use accounts for the poorer quality of production in both services and products in addition to the interference of work operations due to the higher frequency of accidents and injuries.

However, drug users deny these numbers, claiming that “mind altering” drugs help them focus and work better. Although drug users claim that they are sharper under the influence, it is for good reason that these drugs, whether prescribed or illicit, are called mind-altering.

Turnover rates

Individuals who do drugs tend to avoid applying to workplaces that advertise drug-free environments. Pre-employment drug testing can prevent high turnover rates as employees who have tested negative during the pre-employment screening process have a lower likelihood of testing positive during annual random drug testing.

Safety

Safety is a big concern in industries such as construction and healthcare, among others. Employees in these professions stand the most to lose in the instances of error and accidents.

A big goal for companies advocating for drug-free environments is protecting employees from injuries and errors attributed to drug use. Drug use can affect one’s judgment, decreases reaction time and predisposes employees to risk taking behavior. A drug-free environment aims to protect employees from themselves and to protect other employees and customers.

The importance of drug testing is tied to the goals of the workplace. The payback for conducting pre employment screenings and random drug tests is evaluated with the benefits in productivity, employee turnover and safety outweighs the cost.

Author: Zainab Sheikh

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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