Nationwide Drug Testing Center: Benefiting Companies and Workers

An Employee Failed a Drug Test. Now What?

Illegal substance use in the United States is increasing exponentially. According to recent studies conducted by the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA), the emotional strain and stress caused by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, combined with the threat to people’s safety, have increased the number of Americans looking for treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. 

Their studies reveal that admission for various treatment programs increased ten percent to 12 percent nationwide. According to the United States Health, Education, and Welfare, the increased demand for treatment programs corresponds to the high consumption of alcohol and illegal (or prescription) drugs. 

The bad news is, the increase in illicit and prescription drug use shows up in work areas. At least 75% of current illegal substance users eighteen years old and above are employed – more than 10 million United States employees. On a regular basis, based on 250 workdays per year, at least 42,000 American citizens are coming to work either stoned or getting their fix while in the workplace. 

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As a matter of fact, a national survey found that 75% of workers used illicit drugs while working. The government once claimed that if all employees’ ages eighteen to forty years old were subjected to a random drug screening on any given day, more or less 25% will test positive.

What workers know

Workers know that using illicit substances in the workplace can create a lot of problems and that it has adverse effects on workplace safety, job performance, as well as other work-related activities. A survey of employees conducted in 1995 suggests that nearly 60% know individuals who have shown up for work stoned or drunk. 

And at least 62% of participants said they know personally or know individuals who have personal knowledge of co-workers whose illicit drug abuse has interfered with their jobs. In a series of surveys of workers’ attitudes about illegal substance abuse, most people said that this problem happens in their workplaces and somewhat or significantly affects various work-related activities. 

Testing workers for substance abuse is often conducted for post-accident, return-to-duty, post-rehabilitation, random screening, and pre-employment. Employees suffering from this problem usually tested positive for cannabis or marijuana. It is considered the most widely used by employees randomly tested by their companies. 

According to laboratories, more or less 60% of all positive illegal substance screenings are for cannabis, and that 16% are for cocaine. The recent rise in heroin use all over the United States is reflected in the 9% positive rate for opiates. The next substance is Amphetamines at 4.9%, followed by Benzos at 3.9%, barbiturates at 3%, Propoxyphene at 1.6%, Methadone at 0.41%, and Phencyclidine 0.34%.

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What companies want?

According to recent surveys, workers usually favor screening of people in safety-sensitive jobs 95%. Most employees also favor screening of office workers 70%; health workers at 92%; and factory workers at 80%. And most individuals prefer drug screen employees in their own occupation at 78%. Employees want a pretty safe environment. 

Drug abuse contributes to an unsafe workspace. Drugs and alcohol are responsible for at least one in six fatalities in the workplace. According to the National Safety Council, at least 80% of individuals who suffered drug-related accidents at work areas are not using or abusing illicit substances but innocent bystanders. 

Does random testing minimize casualties? A number of studies in the workplace that measures accident rates of organizations before and after implementing random screening show that it is indeed an imperative safety factor. Not only do people want a safe working environment, but they also want a productive company, where people are performing their jobs competently and safely. 

These testing programs are contributing factors to help improve performance in the workplace. A strict screening program deserves a lot of credit for the overall improvement in work performance that organizations experience after implementing them. 

In addition to the drop in accident rates, tardiness, absenteeism, behavioral issues, and employee theft usually decrease with the maintenance and implementation of drug screening. Worker morale and productivity rise with improved attention to work, attendance, as well as enhanced performance.

Two men back in prison for trying to cheat drug tests with Whizzinator and  fake urine

The same goals

Businesses, organizations like Nationwide Testing Association, and employees share the same goals. Both want to see the company succeed, and they know that it needs to be very competitive and deliver what it needs to deliver for it to succeed. Companies that don’t have a drug-testing program can attract candidates who can’t obtain employment in other companies because of their habits. 

These programs make sure that the hiring of more effective employees that in turn results in ROI or Return on Investment in screening far outweighs its cost. These programs support a more productive and safer working environment, the kind in which individuals want to work in. Maintaining a high level of productivity, morale, and safety benefits both the company and its workers.

Common symptoms and signs of an illegal substance and alcohol use

Performance problems

Increased mistakes

Difficulty in following simple instructions

Unable to respond to supervision


Missed deadlines

Inconsistent quality of work

Reduced productivity

Lack of concentration

Erratic work pace

Poor judgment

Always feeling tired

Absenteeism and poor attendance

Increased absenteeism

Unexplained or increased tardiness

Increased in unauthorized absenteeism

Consistent absenteeism (paydays, the day after regular holidays, and Mondays)

Regular complaints when it comes to vaguely defined sicknesses

Unexplained disappearances for their jobs

Physical appearance and attitude

Confrontational and argumentative with co-workers

Disrupting the workflow of the company

They need to be supervised more compared to other employees

Last disposition


Apathetic with responsibilities, supervision, and assignments

Sloppy work results

Regularly blaming co-workers for their own mistakes


Avoiding co-workers and supervisors

Deterioration of personal appearance

Watery or bloodshot eyes

Small or very large pupils

Behaviors of intoxication

Obsession with illicit substances and alcohol

Unsteady gait

Safety and health hazards

Participating in pretty risky behaviors

Increased involvement in various work-related accidents

Lack of interest in safety rules

Disregarding the safety of other individuals

Careless maintenance and handling of safety-sensitive devices or machines

Domestic issues

Talk of divorce and separation

Marital issues

Issues with kids and their erratic behaviors

Bankruptcy and frequent money issues