While drug testing is certainly effective in screening the most egregious cases of drug users that fail a pre-employment test, the practice has known limitations.
No company is in the business of catching people using illicit drugs, that’s a police job, but drug testing is a standard practice for the vast majority of American companies. The underlying assumption is that by not hiring drug users, the companies can have a drug free and safer workplace.
The reality is very different, workplace drug use is at an all-time high despite many years of drug testing policies being in place, and marijuana legalization trends and the current economic reality of recruiting and retaining employees is clearly challenging the status quo.
Looking at the data published by Quest Diagnostics, with only a couple of exceptions, in every industry sector the drug positivity rates are going up.
Could it be much worst without drug testing? Absolutely, but it is also evident that it is not getting any better. The image that comes to mind is that of the sailor with the bucket throwing water out of the sinking boat.
AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH
It’s time to look at the problem with an open mind and address it with an innovative approach, shifting the narrative from “We are a drug free workplace” that requires a policing attitude to “We are an impairment free workplace” that is implemented in cooperation with the workforce.
SOBEREYE, a testing and monitoring service that checks a person's eyes to evaluate the risk of impairment on-the-job, has been developed with that objective in mind.
The technology measures impairment risk from alcohol, drugs (licit or illicit), sleep deprivation and other high-risk neurological conditions. It detects the risk, but not the cause.
By shifting the focus from catching illicit drug users to checking impairment risk on-the-job, companies can directly and effectively reduce the risk of accidents for a safer workplace and improved relationship with the workforce.