Tag Archives: workplace drug use

Workforce Drug Tests Show Highest Drug Use in Over a Decade

drug use in workplaceA recent report released by Quest Diagnostics shows that the number of employees using illicit drugs has increased since last year, as indicated by a 5% jump in positive drug tests. The biggest increases by drug included cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.

One potentially positive note is that the number of positive tests for heroin and other opiates appears to have leveled off. Hopefully this means that people are finally starting to heed the warnings and stay away from these drugs and that the use begins to sharply decline.

These types of reports are important tracking tools regarding drug use and how drug use is effecting businesses and workplaces throughout the country. Oftentimes employers will require their employees to submit to a drug test upon starting at their position and then may also request random drug tests, or drug tests in the event of a workplace accident. These tests are often facilitated by Quest Diagnostics, which also maintains a record of the results for tracking trends and data analysis.

“This year’s findings are remarkable because they show increased rates of drug positivity for the most common illicit drugs across virtually all drug test specimen types and in all testing populations” said Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions.

The recap of positive and negative drug tests does more than just show that drug use is increasing among America’s workforce. It also highlights the need for further education regarding drug use and how it can affect one’s career. Substance abuse in the workplace accounts for billions of dollars in costs due to accidents, poor performance and absence.

Each employer has their own policies regarding failed drug tests, but it is common for employees that have failed drug tests to be let go from their positions. Many larger companies work with their employees to help them find treatment through their human resources department or Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This helps to build loyalty and long-term employment as well as helps improve the overall health of society.

Employers Cracking Down on Marijuana Use

shrmpotsurveypicNow that a handful of states have voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults, we’re starting to see some of the ways that affects communities. One way is on the job. Since it is well known that marijuana use reduces ambition and blunts perceptions in most people, employers aren’t exactly eager to welcome the drug into the workplace.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), more than half of employers in states where recreational marijuana use is legal either have or are planning to implement drug use policies with specific rules for that drug. It noted that the vast majority of employers will continue to follow federal guidelines regarding marijuana use, as that protects their freedom to refuse employment to people who use the drug.

Despite some people claiming it is discriminatory, employers have the right to set these standards and protect their workforce from potential accidents and their bottom line from underperformance.

“There is what I consider to be a significant number of employers that are saying they wouldn’t hire an employee that uses marijuana,” said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at the SHRM.

Thankfully, these HR managers haven’t seen a large influx of people coming to work under the influence, or at least it has not been detected. Also, even though there may be more strict policies regarding substance abuse, there are fewer companies that carry out mandatory pre-employment drug screens for all new hires. One big area of concern, though is that the number of millenials entering the workforce could start to change much of the demographics surrounding marijuana use.