Benefits of Drug Testing in the Workplace

Workplace drug testing refers to the conduction of a drug test program in the workplace. The term also covers the pre-employment drug test done upon request by an employer. It involves technical analysis of biological specimens such as (urine, hair, blood, breath, saliva) of the employee. The biological sample is collected and analyzed to determine the presence of drug metabolites that indicate drug or alcohol use.


Testing is presumed to be lawful, except there is a specific restriction in the state or federal law. However, there may be restrictions placed on random testing and other specifics on drug tests at workplace, based on state laws. Drug testing is a frequently-used control method in workplaces. And, depending on the state laws and company policies, bosses may request that workplace drug screening be carried out. It can be both pre employment drug test and testing for already hired staff.


Although there are jobs that don’t require drug tests, it is no surprise that many employers have adopted reliable drug testing programs for the workplace. After all, drug testing has enormous potential benefits to the business as well as employees concerned. In fact, there may be weighty consequences for the company when a reliable drug testing program isn’t in place.


Pre-employment drug screening help employers know if potential employees use drugs. And drug screening helps identify employees who have drug problems and is essential to maintaining workplace safety.

Advantages of Drug Testing

You might be wondering why all the fuss on having a pre-employment drug test and conducting a drug test at workplace. Well, employers conduct drug screening for good reasons-benefits. Here are some benefits of workplace drug testing

1.    Safer working environment

This is perhaps the most direct benefit of drug testing-increased safety. Without a doubt, one can say that employees who abuse drugs pose a safety risk in the workplace. And for safety-sensitive jobs that involve handling heavy machinery or tremendous physical exertion, the risks are even higher.

A study found that random alcohol testing reduced fatal accidents in the transport industry. Regardless of the industry, testing can help improve safety in the workplace.

2.    Higher productivity

Higher productivity is not a direct effect of workplace drug testing but a welcomed byproduct. The company produces better results when all hands are on deck. With a safer working environment and healthier employees that are motivated to work, what you get back is increased productivity. Employee theft and certain behavioral problems have also been observed to drop drastically where a consistent drug-testing program is implemented.

3.    Reduces potential legal liability

As an employer, when an accident occurs in your organization, you’re potentially liable. Particularly if this accident can be traced to an unsafe working environment.

Workplace drug testing demonstrates your attempt to maintain a safe working environment for your staff and may reduce potential liability should an accident occur. However, where drug testing is not done, it is difficult to identify employees that may pose safety risks and address the risk. So, you expose your company to a trail of liabilities and may even face public relations issues.

4.    Reduces violence in the workplace

Though not always the case, drug abusers are often more violent than their counterparts who do not use drugs. An effective drug-testing program helps the company quickly identify drug abusers that may be present in the workforce. Necessary steps can then be taken to help them, decreasing the chances of workplace violence ever surfacing.  

5.    Pre-employment drug screen saves you from hiring drug users

With standard pre-employment drug screening in place, you never have to know what it feels like to have an employee who abuses drugs. You can easily employ only candidates who pass the drug test and are sure to deliver your expected results.

6.    Helps employees with drug problems

So far, it seems drug testing is only advantageous to bosses. But, this is not entirely true.

Yes, there are companies whose policy dictates that they sack employees who fail a drug test. However, not all companies have such policies. Some have standard drug and alcohol testing policies that may benefit an employee with drug problems.

Many bosses help workers who fail the drug test by setting them up in helpful rehabilitation centers-all costs covered. This way, the employee has a chance to get over substance abuse, become better and the company can also retain its experienced staff rather invest in the recruitment and training of fresh personnel.

Without a workplace drug screen or alcohol testing, such an individual will remain unidentified and may gradually deteriorate.

Disadvantages of Drug Testing

It’s never all rosy; even workplace drug testing has disadvantages. 

1.    Additional cost incurred

An obvious disadvantage of drug testing for business owners is the additional cost incurred. Drug-testing programs are not cheap. Even if they were, they are still additional costs to the firm. Averagely, a company may spend $30 to $40 per person to carry out drug screens in the workplace. Doesn’t sound like a lot of money; however, its cumulative implication is massive. A company with 100 employees incurs a cost of about $4000 per test round. If this is done twice a year, that’s $8000 added to your expenses.

2.    Accusations of employee’s privacy breach

You may sometimes find that employees have a latent feeling of resentment towards drug testing in the workplace. Many see workplace drug testing as prying into their privacy. This may rub off on their attitude to work.

Types of Drug Tests that May Be Conducted

The typical drug testing specimens in the workplace are urine, hair, blood, and saliva. On the list of drug tests for job, here are the most common drug test for employment:

·      Urine Test

This is the most common drug testing employed. It is accurate, non-invasive, and relatively inexpensive. In a urine test, drug and alcohol metabolites can only be detected if taken within a 5-10 day window.

·      Blood Test

In a blood drug test, the blood sample is analyzed to detect the presence of drugs. This drug testing method is very accurate. However, it is also more expensive and has a very short detection period. 

·      Saliva Test

It is used to detect substance use by analyzing one’s saliva to identify traces of drugs present in their system. The saliva test is also known as the oral fluid test or swab drug test. 

·      Hair Follicle Test

Perhaps the most expensive of all drug test types, this drug screening method has a detection window of up to 90 days.

·      Breath Test

This test, conducted using a Breathalyzer, is used for detecting alcohol use. The test gauges alcohol use by gauging the alcohol concentration in the body from a deep-lung breath. 

Is it Possible to Have a False-Positive Test?

Drug test results are usually positive, negative, or inconclusive. However, the following may cause you to have a false positive result:

  • Over the counter medications containing dextromethorphan
  • Considerable consumption of CBD oil
  • Liquid medications containing ethanol
  • ADHD medications
  • Antidepressants

It is generally good practice to inform your service provider of any medications you’re currently taking. This is because some medications contain active ingredients that may give a false-positive test.

How to Find Out If a Company Drug Tests

Companies that drug test usually notify their applicants that pre-employment drug screening is a part of the application process. So, to know if a company drug tests, you should simply go through the job posting carefully. Alternatively, you could research the company’s policies.

How to Prepare for a Drug Test

  • Stay away from drugs
  • Research the drug test type you’d be undergoing and get familiar with the process
  • If the test type is up to you, choose a test you’re more likely to pass.
  • Disclose medications you use
  • When going for urinalysis, drink enough water so that you can get an adequate sample. Avoid taking too much water to prevent having an inconclusive result.
  • Test aforehand with an over the counter drug test kit

How Accurate Are Drug Tests?

No drug test is 100% accurate. However, they have an accuracy of up to 90%.

Are There Jobs that Don’t Require Drug Testing?

Definitely. Here are some jobs that don’t require drug test.

  • Chef
  • Housekeeper
  • Dog walker
  • Dog trainer
  • Cosmetologist
  • Personal fitness trainer
  • Mobile applications developer
  • Information technology consultant
  • Computer programmer
  • Real estate agent
  • Film producer
  • Restaurant manager
  • Accountant
  • Makeup artist
  • Event planner
  • Audio recording engineer
  • Visual effects artist
  • Video game designer
  • Fashion designer
  • Interior designer
  • Photographer
  • Skincare specialist
  • Journalist
  • Writer

How Can I Efficiently Incorporate a Drug-Testing Program into My Company?

As an employer who wants to adapt workplace drug testing, you must engage a reliable drug testing service provider. We recommend having accredited screening centers like National Drug Screening conduct the test. Your workers could also undergo a First Advantage drug test or HireRight drug test.

 Regardless of the industry, workplace drug testing is a good practice for preventing substance abuse and ensuring safety in the workplace. After all, pre-employment drug test and random drug test are both preventive as well as control measures in the workplace. However, the employer must obey state laws providing notice to employees. He must also follow procedural guidelines intended to prevent discrimination and ensure accuracy.