Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and Programs: Results from the 1994 and 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
The percent of workers who reported that their workplaces had any type of drug testing program -- at hiring, randomly, upon suspicion, and post-accident -- increased significantly between 1994 and 1997 (from 44% to 49%). The percent of workers reporting any type of drug testing increased significantly in small (from 23% to 28%), medium (from 42% to 58%), and large (from 68% to 74%) workplaces.
In 1997, drug testing as part of the hiring process remained as the most frequently used testing program reported by workers (39%), followed by testing upon suspicion and post-accident (30% and 29% respectively). About one-quarter of the workers reported that their workplace tested employees at random.
In 1997, employees at large workplaces reported that their workplace had any type of drug testing program more frequently than those at small or medium establishments (28% for small, 58% for medium, and 74% for large).
Between 1994 and 1997, there was a large increase in the percent of current illicit drug users in medium and large establishments who reported that their workplace conducted drug testing at hiring (from 33% to 48% in medium and from 56% to 80% in large establishments.
Between 1994 and 1997, the percent of current illicit drug users in large establishments who reported that their workplace conducted drug testing randomly more than doubled (from 23% in 1994 to 47% in 1997).
Among the occupation categories studied, between 1994 and 1997, the largest reported increase in the percentage of workers reporting drug testing at hiring occurred among precision production and repair workers (from 35% to 56%). Reporting of drug testing at random and post-accident increased greatly among workers in protective service occupations (from 39% to 60% for testing at random and from 37% to 56% for testing post-accident).
The proportion of workers who said that they would be less likely to work for an employer who tested for drug use at hiring, randomly, and upon suspicion dropped significantly from 1994 to 1997. In 1997, as in 1994, a larger percentage of current illicit drug users than non-users said they would be less likely to work for an employer who tests for drug use upon hiring (22% vs. 4%), randomly (29% vs. 6%), upon suspicion (24% vs. 10%), or after an accident (13% vs. 4%).
Current illicit drug users appear to be much more accepting of drug testing in the workplace in 1997 than they were in 1994.
In 1994, 31 percent of illicit drug users in medium and 29 percent in large establishments said they would be less likely to work for an employer who tests for drugs at hiring while in 1997 only 15 percent in medium and 7 percent in large establishments said so.
In 1994, 41 percent of illicit drug users in medium and 48 percent in large establishments said they would be less likely to work for an employer who tests for drugs randomly, while in 1997 only 25 percent in medium 13 percent in large establishments said so.
This page was last updated on December 30, 2008.