EHS Management

Workplace Drug Abuse and Testing Addressed in New Report

The drug-testing company Tenet Diagnostics has released a white paper, Economic Value of Drug Testing in the Workplace for Health Payers & Employers. It addresses opportunities for payers and employers to use drug testing to decrease employee turnover and absenteeism, reduce employer risk, and lower workers’ compensation rates.

drug-free workplace

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“Employment drug testing provides far-reaching organizational and societal benefits, and promotes a safer, more productive workplace,” says Tenet Chief Medical Officer Scott Howell, MD. He says the pervasive opioid crisis is devastating America’s hard-working, middle class, adding, “Today, it’s become an imperative for payers and employers to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how deeply this issue cuts, and play a key role in curbing a deadly epidemic.”

According to Tenet, employees who abuse prescription drugs are 2 to 5 times more likely than others to take unexcused absences, be late for work, be injured or violent at work, file workers’ compensation claims, and quit or be fired within one year of employment. By contrast, employees in recovery for substance abuse save their companies more than $3,200 a year, the testing firm says.

A few highlights from the report:

  • Drug abuse costs U.S. business owners more than $140 billion each year.
  • 70 percent of the 14.8 million Americans who abuse drugs are employed.
  • Up to 20 percent of work-related fatalities test positive for drugs or alcohol.
  • 71 percent of U.S. employers say they have been affected by employee misuse of legally prescribed medications, including opioids.
  • Employees in organizations without drug testing programs have 30% to 40% higher self-reported past month drug use.

You can download the full report at