Workplace Safety: How can a Drug Abuse Test Help?

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Drug abuse has been a major concern across the world. In India, the drug epidemic has been serious enough for the government to authorise a nation-wide survey to understand the extent of drug abuse. While Punjab has been on the top of the list, the drug epidemic has also hit other states including Delhi, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Surveys in Punjab have found a wide prevalence of drug abuse. One out of six people in Punjab is believed to be a substance user according to a PGIMER study. Experts believe the actual numbers could be more, given the survey design constraints. Although accurate estimates currently are not available, past data suggests that there are ten million cannabis users in India.


Why should employers give priority to drug abuse test?

According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI), companies lose $100 billion every year due to drug abuse by employees. While these are the financial costs, there are other intangible costs related to suffering, pain, loss of motivation, workplace violence and absenteeism.


Some serious consequences of drug abuse at workplace include:

·         Withdrawal or hangover symptoms that affect job performance

·         Impaired decision making

·         Theft

·         Negative impact on co-workers’ motivation levels

·         Impaired concentration and memorySubstance abuse test

·         Illegal activities such as selling drugs at the workplace to others

·         A high rate of absenteeism

·         Violence, aggression and conflicts

·         Medical problems

·         High risk of workplace injuries or accidents

Many drugs including cocaine can lead to reckless, erratic and violent behaviour. Long-term substance abuse can result in more serious health problems, while the negative impact on workplace, family and professional relationships are profound. The cost to companies is much higher when the total costs related to absenteeism, finding a replacement, claims related to accidents or health insurance and brand reputation add up. “NCADI reports that drug abusers avail three times more sick leaves than non-users, are less productive and are likely to injure a co-worker or themselves.”


Drug abuse test to enhance workplace safety

In India, many companies outsource drug abuse test to a professional substance abuse testing provider. It is important to get written consent from the employee before conducting a substance abuse test. Comprehensive programs at the workplace can be effective in addressing workplace drug abuse. Having a workplace drug abuse policy can lead to a significant reduction in injuries and conflicts. An Ohio-based study highlights that drug abuse policy that includes drug abuse test can lead to:

·         91% reduced absenteeism

·         88% reduction in conflicts with supervisors

·         93% reduced errors at work

·         97% reduction in workplace injuries

The other benefits of drug abuse test at workplace include significant improvement in morale, increased productivity and intact brand reputation.


A workplace policy can include these components:

·         A comprehensive drug abuse policy aimed at making the workplace drug-free and safe

·         Drug abuse test protocols

·         Training of team leads, supervisors, and managers to recognize drug addiction symptoms

·         Regular awareness programs for all the staff

·         Prompt action to address any drug abuse problem as soon as detected.

Employers can make informed hiring or promoting decisions while protecting the brand reputation and safety at the workplace with a comprehensive substance abuse test policy. Make your business drug-free and safe! Write to us at to schedule drug abuse tests for your employees.

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