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Is Workplace Drug Testing Really Necessary

Most of the companies uphold a drug-free workplace, that is why drug testing is not new for every company employee. Over the past years, systematic investigations of established drug testing facts reveal that about 40% of United States employees undergone drug testing at the first phase of the company’s employment process. Meanwhile, last year workers in the United States have undergone drug testing more than 9 million times. From this number, an estimated total of 350,000 have been detected to be drug-positive. Data reveals that the most widely consumed drugs include marijuana, amphetamines and various pain killers. Companies believe that this strict screening measure will improve efficiency, safety and productivity in the workplace.

is drug testing necessary

However, there exists an incongruity between what is expected and what actually is the result. In the US setting, taking into account the lenient position of the country towards marijuana and the consented prescriptions issued by medical professionals, the improper and excessive use of drugs will never be rooted out. In most cases also, drug test results are easily influenced by deceits and cheats. These are realities that logically express the ineffectiveness of drug testing.

So, what is the sense of drug testing in this contemporary society?

The Reagan administration legitimately bound the state and its people to the campaign of workplace drug testing when he signed the Executive Order 12564 - Drug-Free Federal Workplace in 1988. This mandated federal employers to subject their employees towards drug testing programs and procedures. The mandate paves the way for several numbers of drug-testing-related industries to flourish. These industries bring with them the argument that drug testing policies and procedures will alleviate drug abuse and consumption among employees in the workplace. This, in turn, will keep up every company’s employee productivity and accomplishment of company goals. But in reality things are not quite so.

First, there is no strong factual evidence indicating that drug testing leads to reduction of drug consumption. Casual drug users have options! There is a high probability that they would look for job in companies that do not drug test and escape from their potential employers who require this procedure. Others may stop for a while for the sake of getting negative results and then continue afterwards.

Second, it is impractical to spend a significant amount of money just to determine a small portion of drug users from the whole company population. Besides, drug testing them has not proven that it affects their work performances and that they are, in reality, impairing the workplace safety.

Third, sometimes the law contradicts itself. The legitimate status given to marijuana in some states and legally-prescribed painkillers puzzles some existing local anti-drug laws, especially that these drugs are prone for abusive consumption.

Regardless of these arguments, employers tend to stick to drug testing because they still believe in its strong effectiveness, benefit them of huge insurance discounts, and flaunt their anti-drug image to everyone.

Drug testing is ideal to be implemented in companies that concern safety as the fundamental work component like construction sites or airlines. There are so many reasons behind workers being unproductive in the workplace and drug use is not always the main reason. Thus, a positive, communicative approach between the employers and the employees is more likely to make sense than subjecting them to biased drug testing procedures.