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Kits for Passing Drug Tests, Who is Fooling Who
When you type into Google the term “drug detox”, the page will show the websites of drug detox facilities and websites advertising products that guarantee they will enable anyone to pass a drug test. Obviously, if you need one of these products it is because you are using a substance that, if detected, could lead to termination of employment or even to prison-if using a prohibited substance is a violation of parole.
A significant number of people using these tools to falsify drug tests are addicted to, or physically dependent on, drugs or alcohol and cannot control their use even though they will suffer the loss of their job or their freedom if they don’t pass a drug test. Rather than go through a medical detox and rehab to handle their drug problems, they simply continue to abuse a substance that is likely ruining their life. Yes, the person might fool the drug test but they still have the problem-they are using a substance that is either prohibited by law or by their employer. Who is fooling who?
Some advocates of the “right” to falsify drug tests make long arguments about the unconstitutionality of the drug laws but unless the courts agree with them, and they haven’t, they are still breaking the law. In trying to expose the faulty logic of some of his political opponents who were making unsupported positions, Abraham Lincoln often used to ask, “How many legs would a calf have if you called the calf’s tail a leg?” Most people responded, “Five.” Lincoln would respond “Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.” Trying to say that a violation of the law or of your employment contract is okay does not make it right.
Assisting people on parole to fool a drug test may have legal consequences for the parolee and for the company selling the tests. For example, if the parolee who is falsifying his drug tests continues to be an abuser of drugs and/or alcohol and someone gets harmed or killed during a drug buy or while the alcohol abuser is driving, then civil and maybe criminal liability can attach to the person and probably to the company selling the test falsification kit.
Many people who may not think it is okay for a parolee to falsify a drug test apparently consider that there is nothing wrong with people falsely passing a drug test for employment or continued employment. They argue that the employer has no right to require that they live their private life in a certain manner. If they want to use drugs or alcohol on their own time, it should be their business. Besides, they are only fooling their employer. Why should anyone care?
If the abuser of drugs or alcohol did not have an impaired performance at work, probably most people would not care. However, it is indisputable that the use of drugs or alcohol do affect the employee’s job performance and does cost employers an enormous amount of money. But it doesn’t just affect the employer. The costs of employee drug and alcohol abuse are passed down to all of us in the price of the goods the employers sell. We all pay more because of the costs to the employer.
Recognizing the actual direct costs to their business, more and more employers are instituting “Drug Free Workplaces.” This means that their applicants are required to pass drug tests before being accepted for employment and many employers routinely have their employees take drug tests for continued employment. Why is this being done? Because not doing so can literally be the difference between staying in business or closing their doors.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (“NSDUH”), in 2005 there were 17.2 million current illicit drug users aged 18 or older. 12.9 million (74.8 percent) of these illicit drug users were employed either full or part time.
If you add the number of people using alcohol this number swells. 63.2 percent of full-time employed adults aged 18 or older in 2005 were current users of alcohol. The study defined people with alcohol problems as binge drinkers and heavy drinkers. A binge drinker is defined as five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least one day in the past 30 days. A heavy drinker is defined as five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of five or more days in the past 30 days.
There were an estimated 52.6 million adult binge drinkers in 2005. 42.1 million (80.0 percent) were employed either full or part time. Of the estimated 15.4 million heavy drinkers, 12.5 million (80.8 percent) were employed. Altogether there were 68 million binge and heavy drinkers that were employed in 2005. When you add in the estimated 12.9 million illicit drug users, then the number of U.S. employees who were impaired in some way was in excess of 80 million.
Of course, this does not include the millions of additional employees who are addicted or physically dependent on painkillers, anti-depressants or benzodiazepines and which, to a greater or lesser degree, create the same problems in the workplace as the users of illicit drugs or alcohol abusers.
The U.S. Department of Health has sponsored numerous studies to show the cost to U.S. business caused by substance-abusing employees. Some of the costs are:
- Employees who are substance abusers are twice as likely as non-abusers to have been fired by an employer in the last year, to have changed employers more than three times in the last year, and missed two or more days of work in the past month.
- Up to 40 percent of industrial fatalities can be linked to substance abuse.
- Substance abusing employees are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents and five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.
- According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, nearly half of all workers’ compensation claims are related to substance abuse.
- Substance abusers are three times more likely to use medical benefits than other employees.
- 80 percent of drug abusers steal from their workplaces to support their drug use.
- Substance abuse is the third leading cause of workplace violence.
- Substance abusing employees are 33 percent less productive than their co-workers, and on average cost their employers $7,000 annually.
In total, substance abuse costs America’s employers more than $160 billion per year in accidents, lost productivity and related problems. Remember, when it costs employers $160 billion this means that it is raising the prices of what we consume by at least $160 billion.
However, some employers are not just firing their employees who have substance abuse problems. They recognize that these employees, if they were able to handle their substance abuse, could be valuable employees again. More and more of these employers are asking their employees to tell them about their substance abuse and let the employers help. Many of these employers pay some or all of the cost of a medical detox facility like Novus and then a rehab facility. When the employee has successfully completed the detox and rehab they are brought back to work with no loss of seniority.
This is a better solution than losing a qualified employee and condemning them to continued substance abuse.
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