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Case # 3
Work Place Drug Testing
3 Aug 2004
A majority of businesses today administer drug testing before a new employee start a company. Most often companies stop at that initial “new hire” phase for drug testing. I believe that random drug testing in the work place should be permitted and is beneficial to businesses. Although people complained that random drug testing is a violation of privacy, companies have a business to run and don’t need the added responsibility or the hassle of a drug addicted employee. Drugs change behavior and limit the ability to accurately complete tasks. There is also evidence that drug dependant employees use more sick leave and medical benefits than other employees. This cost can affect an employer in many ways. First, they have to pay out for medical expenses of the employee and sick absences can mean less or inadequate production for that day. No matter what the job calls for, whether it’s flipping burgers or working in a factory, missing people cause the company to work harder to make up for the addict drug users. Second, drug addicted employees are a hazard to themselves and others on the job site. Lastly, drug addicted employees can put the public in jeopardy too.
Statistics have shown how dangerous the workplace has become. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that 75 percent of illegal drugs consumed are used by people with jobs. Users of illegal drugs put lives of co-workers, families, and the public in jeopardy. It has been said that a typical user in today’s workforce is almost 4 times more likely to be injured or to injure another person in a workplace. As for occurring accidents, employees are 5 times more likely to be involved in an accident after work. According to a 1992 U. S. Postal Service study, substance abusers were involved in 55 percent more accidents and experienced 85 percent more on-the-job injuries compared to non-substance abusing co-workers. Studies have revealed that testing reduces accidents. I found an interesting example regarding the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was proved that accidents dropped from 2,234 to 322 in the first six months of random drug testing. The statistics below are the number of kilograms found on users in California. This information was provided by the DEA:
DEA 5 YEAR DRUG SEIZURES
Calendar Year Marijuana kgs. Methamphetamines kgs.
2002 195,644 118,049,279
2001 271,785 124,532,740
2000 331,964 129,622,961
1999 337,832 76,621,124
1998 262,176 62,907,212
”Methamphetamines and Marijuana is the primary drug threat in California. Mexican organizations continue to dominate the production and distribution of high-quality meth, while a secondary trafficking group, composed primarily of Caucasians, operates small, unsophisticated laboratories.” (DEA)
In addition to saving lives, random drug testing programs increases a company’s ability to compete in the market place. Statistics have shown that drug users in the workplace are 22 times more likely to request time off, 2.5 times more likely to have absences of eight days or more, 3 times more likely to be late for work, 5 times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim, 7 times more likely to have wage garnishments and one-third less productive. Other negative factors that occur with drug addicted employees are the losses associated with reduced quality of work, low morale, impaired judgment, theft, turnover and, employee friction. “The Department of Labor estimates that substance abuse in the work place cost $100 billion annually" (p.606). I believe that companies who do not utilize random drug testing programs are at greater jeopardy. Regardless of a company’s size, the economic gain for a business will always outweigh the expense to perform random a drug-testing programs. People argue that drug testing violates a person’s privacy, but in reality if you are not doing drugs then what do you have to hide?
Furthermore, helping reduce the drug problem in society is another positive result from random drug testing in the workplace. Drug use has been associated with various crimes including murder and suicide. Spouse and child abuse along with divorce have been linked to drug abuse too. Another problem in society is the illegal drug markets that have continued to grow. I believe that the workplace can be a very effective place to reach people and change their lifestyles. People have managed to overcome their addiction
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Drug control law, Drug test, Substance abuse, Prohibition of drugs, Drug Enforcement Administration, War on Drugs, Arguments for and against drug prohibition
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