Companies lose $82 billion in productivity each year because of substance abuse, the federal government estimates. A growing number of employers are fighting back with workplace drug programs, says the New York Times. They say better technology has made drug screening more reliable, while insurance discounts and government grants have made it cheaper. More than three-quarters of the 14.8 million U.S. drug users have jobs. Drug users are almost four times as likely to be involved in a workplace accident as sober workers and five times as likely to file a workers' compensation claim. Drug users miss more days of work, show up late and change jobs more often. The cost of a drug test is usually less than $50.
Richard Chaifetz of Com-Psych, a company that helps employers set up drug screening and rehabilitation programs, says, “”Small-business owners will typically say I know my employees very well, nobody is abusing substances here,” he says. Employers also often worry about violating their workers' privacy or hurting company morale by appearing distrustful. Almost 6 percent of employees randomly screened and 4 percent of job applicants typically test positive, says Quest Diagnostics, the largest laboratory. False positives almost never happen. While users tend to work in restaurants, bars, construction, food preparation, or transportation, they can be found in all industries.