The Arguments for and Against Drug Testing in the Work Place

Topics: Drug test, Drug addiction, Employment Pages: 7 (2157 words) Published: January 16, 2013
The Arguments for 1

The Arguments For and Against Drug Testing in the Work Place Becky M. Kanipe
Orientation to Doctoral Learning in Psychology

The Arguments For 2
The issues of whether society should permit the business sector to test for the presence of illegal drug use by the employees, is one in which seemingly convincing arguments can be proposed to support it, as well as equally convincing arguments against the concept. In this paper, I will explore the controversy from several different perspectives, analyzing the most important arguments both for and against permitting businesses to engage in employee drug testing. I will begin this paper by first considering the arguments for permitting businesses to engage in drug-testing employees for illegal substances. Then I will consider the arguments against permitting drug-testing. Summing up the paper, I will decide who has the best argument for their beliefs and explain a possible rationale for those beliefs.

The Arguments for 3
On current trends within two years it will be almost impossible for recreational drug users to get a job with larger companies. Drug testing at work is probably the single most effective weapon we have against adult substance abuse. It is a proven, low cost strategy which identifies those needing help, reduces demand, cuts accidents and sick leave, improves attendance and increases productivity. (Cross, 1997) Yet drug testing is highly controversial, according to Cross, it penalizes users with positive drug tests that can bear little or no relation to work performance, encourages knee-jerk dismissals and discrimination at interviews. It costs money and invades privacy. Despite all this, almost overnight it has become fashionable to talk of testing millions of people at work for both alcohol and drugs.

Perkinson states, “The government's own Forensic Science Agency carried out over a million workplace drug tests last year, with a rush of interest from transport, construction, manufacturing and financial services industries”(1997). This stampede to test follows spectacular drug testing success when many had declared the mega-war against drugs all but lost. The drugs industry accounts for eight percent of all international trade according to the United Nations. Education, customs, police, crop destruction and prison sentences have failed to deliver so drug testing has become highly attractive, even at the cost of civil liberties. Eighty percent of all large companies already spend over two million a year testing for drugs at work, affecting forty percent of the US work force. In 2010, up to eighty percent of all workers will be covered by drug tests (Hock 2009). 
 The Arguments for 4 Every office, factory, train operator, airline, construction company and hospital is affected with serious risks to public health and profitability. Workplace drug testing in America is being forced on employers for economic and safety reasons. Drug companies that don't test will go bust. Their insurance premiums will go through the roof. US studies show that substance abusers (including alcohol) are thirty-three percent less productive, three times as likely to be late, four times as likely to hurt others at work or themselves, five times as likely to sue for compensation, and ten times as likely to miss work (Cialdini 2003).
 Cross also explains that when the State of Ohio introduced random drug testing they found absenteeism dropped ninety-one percent there were eighty-eight percent less problems with supervisors and ninety-seven percent decrease in on-the-job injuries. These results are so striking that many companies are now screening job applicants. The American Medical Association’s own...
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