In the latest National Drug Control Report for 2012 released last week, the government wants businesses to conduct a drug testing program for their workers to maximize productivity and minimize health-related costs.
Yet not all employees will be subjected to the drug testing procedure and the US Labor Department has not released guidelines pertaining to the matter.
Administration spokesperson Rafael Lemaitre from the Office of National Drug Control Policy said that they believe in drug testing as an effective way to help employees who are affected by substance abuse but “…. it is certainly not our policy that every employer in America ought to test and punish employees.”
Last February, Congress allowed states to drug test unemployed welfare recipients who want to get back in the work force. Information gathered from the Society for Human Resource Management claimed that about 57% of industries and businesses require drug testing for applicants.
Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) who has sponsored a drug testing bill said that most industries today already implement drug testing for employees. “For a vast majority of very large companies, or private and public sector jobs in general, drug testing is something that’s mandatory. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re on drugs, you probably won’t make the best applicant or interviewee.”
As expected, advocates against drug testing were quick to respond and shared their thoughts on the government’s initiative. Drug Policy Alliance representative Bill Piper commented that “Drug testing has nothing to do with what goes on in the workplace. Drug testing is all about finding out what people did in their time off, and they’re only detecting past marijuana use.”
In a report from the Huffington Post, the Obama Administration is strongly pursuing the idea of drug testing in the workplace. “Workplace programs that provide clear policies regarding drug use; offer prevention and education opportunities for employers and supervisors; conduct drug testing to detect and deter use; and support referral and treatment for those who have substance use disorders can play a large role in reducing the demand for drugs throughout our Nation and in helping drug users get into treatment.”