The health and happiness of employees are crucial for an organization’s growth and sustenance. One of the leading issues in any workplace today is substance usage.

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Drug use is not only a risk to the youth, unemployed, and homeless people. Work stress and easy availability via the internet sites, educated people in respectful positions also get into the habit of consuming addictive substances such as alcohol, opioids, etc. As per the 2021 UNODC report, global drug use is rising.

Drug tests done without prior notice at office premises fall under the random drug testing method. The testing procedures include blood sampling, urine sampling, breath analysis, and saliva testing. At the workplace, urinary analysis is typical. 

Some people consider such tests as an invasion of their privacy. At times, people may test positive due to different reasons. They would have unknowingly consumed over-the-counter medicine, opiates such as poppy seeds in food items, spiked cocktails, etc. Therefore, the HR team should consider these factors before concluding the result. It is advisable to have an independent group for conducting the random drug test. They should not be aware of employee biases and workplace hierarchies. The method needs to be indiscriminate in a true sense. Every employee should have an equal probability of giving the samples. Below we discuss the importance of random drug testing. 

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Secretive Nature

People start taking addictive drugs as a remedy to stress, sleeplessness, and at times, for pain management. But mostly, it is the mental disturbance the leads to addiction.

Many people with drug use tend to be secretive and do not acknowledge the use of drugs. It is mainly due to the stigma attached. Drug abuse harms the reputation, and at times, can cost people their jobs. Moreover, with illegal drugs, one can land up in prison. Thus, it is challenging for employers to find people with addiction issues. And, random drug testing is one possible solution for confirming drug usage.

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A profitable and safe workplace

Can we permit a pilot, a bus driver, or a surgeon to work under the effects of a sedative? Similarly, it is not safe to employ addictive people in any workplace. Substance misuse affects alertness, judgemental ability, and the reflex action of a person. They are more prone to accidents and might disclose confidential data to hackers and rival parties. Their productivity tends to be poor, and they take leaves often. Most people using drugs have anger issues and can cause problems for their co-workers. They can also be involved in malpractices such as theft, forgery, etc. Thus the company has to bear losses in many forms such as absenteeism, lower efficiency, disturbed workplace, etc.

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Deter other employees from drug use

Often, addicted people can influence others and prompt them to take drugs. They even try to sell drugs in the office. Therefore, it is essential to identify the employees going through the substance abuse issue. One can watch for these signs- extreme mood swings, glassy eyes, erratic behavior, dilated pupils, and frequent fatigue. But, these symptoms also occur with common illness issues. Therefore, a random drug test is a way to confirm suspicions and ensure a safe environment for employees.

Comply with State laws

Federal laws such as the Controlled Substances Act and the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts control the manufacturing, possession, and use of various addictive substances. The CSA brought the scheduling system for drugs. Apart from these, the states have their laws for a drug-free workplace in safety-sensitive industries. But at the same time, employees cannot fire a person with a history of substance use. But they can enroll them in rehabilitation programs. Employers can seek guidance for drug-free workplace programs and conduct random tests legally and fairly. 

Boost productivity

When it is known that the company follows a drug-free policy, people with drug habits might avoid the hiring process. It becomes easier for management to handle workplace conflicts and issues. The employees feel safe and have increased morale. The work attendance rate gets better and overall performance improves.

The awareness programs help employees identify the symptoms and become aware of the potential danger. It is the way to show that the company cares for the welfare of the employees.  

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Final thoughts

Random drug testing is one of the assured methods to identify drug-using employees. Before testing, the organization has to have a clear policy on abstinence. It needs to convey the policy during the hiring process. There should be policies that help the employees cope with work-related stress, and the company should give them time to handle personal issues. 

Firing employees due to a positive test result is illegal. The company also has the responsibility of keeping the results private. They can provide help such as counseling and rehabilitation. The managers can change the work nature to suit the recovery process. But it is necessary to treat people with dignity, and there should not be any attempt to marginalize drug users.