Having a drug and alcohol policy, along with a formalized drug testing program is essential in minimizing risk within an organization. All across the United States, the use of illicit drugs has increased substantially. Out of the estimated 25 million people who use some kind of illicit drugs, 75% of users are employed. On average, 10% of employees use drugs. What does this mean for business owners? A fairly large percent of their employees use drugs and may be a risk to their company.

State and Federal Laws Impacting a Company Policy

State and federal laws dictate a large part of what business owners can and cannot do when it comes to drug testing. But, not having a drug and alcohol policy or testing program at all may create more harm than good. Some states allow pre-employment drug testing, while some forbid random or post-accident drug testing. But, to drug test at all, employers should have a written policy that outlines their company policies and testing procedures.

4 Steps to Develop a Policy

So, how do employers know what to put in their company policies? It is important business owners, human resource managers, and other supervisory staff stay up to date with state and federal laws regarding drugs and alcohol. The second step is to consult with an expert in the field to write the company policy. Companies who specialize in writing drug and alcohol policies can provide a second set of eyes on how you can reduce liability and eliminate risk. It is recommended that all drug and alcohol policies are reviewed by either the company’s legal department or an attorney before implementing or enforcing the policy. The final step is to train company employees on the policy and ask for feedback. Employers should consider revising their policy from the input received from their employees.

The Cost of Implementing a Drug & Alcohol Policy

Once an employer had a drug and alcohol policy developed, the quality of work and productivity may improve. Drug and alcohol users in the workplace have demonstrated higher absenteeism, increased accidents and injuries, workers compensation, turnover and healthcare costs and the risk of losing the market to a competitor. When you compare the cost of a drug and alcohol program to the cost of damages to a business, it’s worth spending the money on a testing program.