Abbott – Work Drug Safe Website| Knowledge & Insights Blog | December 2021
The importance of random drug testing is growing as drug use is on the rise in the United States. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) identified that the number of past-year illicit drug users ages 26 and older over the last few years: 14.6% of the population in 2015; 15% of the population in 2016; 16.1% of the population in 2017; and 16.7% of the population in 2018.
The report is ongoing, but we can assume that the numbers will continue to rise when SAMHSA releases the 2019 report. To protect themselves from the costs of employing the growing number of regular drug users, many employers use workplace drug testing. In fact, many workplaces in the United States require pre-employment drug testing of applicants (57%), but much fewer require random drug testing of employees (47%). That means that a majority of workplaces only require applicants to pass one drug test over the entire course of their employment. Additionally, that single drug test is announced in advance, allowing drug using applicants ample time to stop using to pass the test and start using as soon as they are onboard. While pre-employment drug testing is an effective tool in keeping workplaces drug-free, it is only one tool. Employers who fail to take advantage of unannounced, random drug tests miss the opportunity to deter drug use by employees and maintain a safer, more productive workplace.