With drug abuse on the rise - the chances are your business is at risk.
As a result America Drug Testing and AZ Clinical Services are committed to providing solutions that help the Business Owner, Human Resource Manager and Worker Safety Manager keep substance abuse out of your workplace.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, drugs are the number one crime problem in the United States. Drug dealing is estimated to be over a $100 billion dollar annual business. Huge profits are made by criminals outside the U.S and those supplying drugs to local communities. The recent surge of juvenile gangs can be directly linked to the drug industry and the resulting increase in violence. Such violence is often directed at rival gangs but is also targeted at drug users and innocent people. Drug use also causes other consequences, such as infant addiction, the spread of HIV disease, and an increase in crimes such as armed robberies. In many neighborhoods, people are afraid to leave their homes or to let their children play outside for fear of drug dealer's demands or caught in the crossfire of violence. Because police have limited resources, they must utilize community support to stop drug usage and dealing. Education is the first step and drug free enforcement policies are another growing area of prevention.
Alcohol and drug use in the workplace is receiving attention
Each year alcohol and drugs cost taxpayers billions of dollars in Federal Government drug-related expenditures. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that between 5 and 10% of workers are heavy users of alcohol. Furthermore, they report the following statistics about workers who use drugs:
22% of construction workers
16% of workers in the wholesale trade
19% in repair services
11% in manufacturing, retail and professional positions
Compared to the average employee, workers who use alcohol and drugs are late to work three times more, receive sickness benefits three times more, have four times more on-the-job accidents and file five times more worker's compensation claims. They are also absent 16 times more and are absent for more than one week two and a half times that of non-users. In addition to these problems, alcohol and drug use lowers productivity, increases equipment damage, and increases the chance of injury to the public.
Due to the working public's increased awareness and concern about safety, productivity and health businesses and work places have, or are considering drug free workplace policies as a further safety measure for customers, their employee's, and co-workers. Many have responded to the alcohol and drug problem by implementing policies designed not only to prevent drug users from entering the workforce, but to help those workers who are already using alcohol and drugs.
The major law on workplace drugs is narrow – and it contains few teeth. The Drug-Free Workplace Act, passed in 1988, dictates that workplaces receiving federal grants or contracts must be drug-free or lose the funding, but it does not call for the testing or monitoring workers.
Approximately 20% of working Americans are in a company that does drug testing. Overall drug testing results are declining nationally each year. Employers use the tests for three reasons: to avoid hiring new applicants who use drugs; to discourage drug use by current employees; and to identify workers who are drug users. Although drug testing has proven effective there are definite problems. For example, the fact that a person tests positive for a drug does not mean they are under the influence of that drug. Not all tests are 100% accurate, and a positive test can not determine if the person is an occasional user or dependent. This makes it hard to determine what course of action to take if an employee tests positive. Should employers be able to terminate the worker's employment, or should the employee be required to enter drug treatment or drug education classes? These questions have yet to be resolved although a number of states have passed comprehensive drug testing legislation requiring that employers that have “probable cause”, or a “reasonable suspicion” to test employees for drugs. Violation of the worker's civil rights and the employer's duty to provide a safe workplace are still under review by the courts.
In general, employers have the right to test new job applicants for traces of drugs in their systems as long as:
the applicant knows that such testing will be part of the screening process for new employees. This must be presented immediately to any applicant at their first inquiry at applying for employment.
the employer has already offered the applicant the job
all applicants for the same job are tested similarly, and the tests are administered by a state-certified laboratory
State and federal penalties for distribution of illicit drugs are severe and often include imprisonment. Nevertheless, according to the National Drug Control Strategy the number of drugs being smuggled into the United States continues to increase.
Drugs are distributed to major metropolitan areas, reaching almost every city and rural community in the U.S. Cocaine is just one of the principle drugs being smuggled into the country. Most of it is processed in South America and distributed by powerful cartels. These are large highly structured organizations that use their wealth and power to corrupt the law and government officials who try to stop their operations.
Heroin is another drug being smuggled in and is second only to cocaine in the number of addicts. About 40% of the heroin smuggled into the US is produced in Mexico. New synthetic forms of heroin that are cheaper and more deadly promise to be a growing problem for US drug enforcement agencies and will continue to be a problem as long as there is a demand for the product.
How will it ever end? It may not in the foreseeable future. The risk of imprisonment has always been a deterrent, but that in itself costs taxpayers enormous amounts of money, and for most users who don't deal it is hardly a risk at all. For the user the possiblilty of losing their job, career, family and self esteem remains the greatest deterrent. With businesses embracing and enforcing drug free policies and providing help for their valued employees caught up in this social malaise, there is hope that drug usage will decline and become not only the unaccepted, but the unexpected.
If you would like to discuss setting up a drugfree workplace policy, give our office a call. America Drug Testing LLC and our affiliates want to help.
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