Does Regular Drug Testing Reduce Drug Use?

Published by Raffa Bari | Last updated: 11th November 2022

Does Regular Drug Testing Reduce Drug Use?

Workplaces often ask employees to submit to random, regular drug testing if their jobs are safety critical.

Examples include people who work in construction, transport or any job where the use of drugs or alcohol could cause injury or health and safety issues.  By law, employees have to give written consent for drug testing. Testing can’t be forced on them, and they have a right to refuse.


Why Do Employers Drug Test?

People under the influence of drugs can’t function mentally and physically, as well as sober people. Judgement and decision making is impaired, affecting performance. Drug abuse amongst staff leads to lost productivity for a business, trickling down to lost profits.

Another reason why employers don’t want staff under the influence of drugs is that it’s illegal. Drug use in the workplace goes breaks the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, and employers can be prosecuted if drug use occurs at work. And if someone works in a role where safety is critical, drug abuse can lead to severe injury and accidents for staff, customers and the general public.

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Employers randomly drug test people in safety-critical jobs such as the building and transport sector, although this extends to the healthcare profession and other industries. Any drug testing policies should be clearly stated in the terms and contracts of employment and visible in the employee handbook or similar reference material. Companies are advised to make it clear to employees that working under the influence of drugs is against company policy.

Employers must be careful that they don’t target individuals for drug testing – it needs to be a blanket approach. The employer must inform staff that they could face disciplinary action.


Do Schools Drug Test?

It’s rare for schools to test pupils in the UK – it’s more widely practised in the US. Private UK boarding schools sometimes test, but it isn’t commonplace. Police involvement is common, with many school-age drug users receiving criminal charges, community service or a criminal record. Schools do have the power to search bags if they suspect drug use. If students are caught with any form of drugs, there is a risk of suspension and expulsion.


Does Drug Testing Reduce Drug Abuse?

Studies show that drug testing deters people from taking drugs. If an employee fails a drug test, it’s often a wake-up call to help them realise they have a drug problem. From this, they seek help, with some sympathetic employers allowing them to seek treatment and, in some cases granting them compassionate or sick leave.  It’s in employers’ interest to protect their staff’s health. Testing is a way of monitoring the health of their teams, and outcomes pave the way for supporting an addict with their long-term recovery.

All businesses should have an up-to-date drug and alcohol policy accessible to all employees. The policy should outline disciplinary procedures for drug use in the workplace.


What are the Benefits of Random Drug Testing?

Random drug testing can reassure business owners and help them safeguard their businesses. Benefits include:

  • Employees don’t want to risk losing their jobs, so if they are drug users, they try harder to refrain from using drugs.
  • Failing a drug test brings a lot of shame to the user, so they are less likely to abuse.
  • No one wants a criminal record. Under the Misuse Of Drugs Act, anyone taking drugs at work (or under the influence) is breaking the law, and a failed drug test can sometimes lead to police involvement. 
  • Protects business from unwanted lawsuits and legal action if a drug-related incident occurs.
  • Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for everyone. Drug tests are another added safety measure.


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How Do Employers Drug Test?

Employers use various drug test methods, including urine, saliva and blood samples.  The easiest way to test is via a urine sample. Despite being the simplest, it sometimes isn’t the most accurate as urine can be diluted. 

Finger prick testing is a simple way to test blood, and often employees can do this at home and return their sample to their workplace. The home testing method isn’t recommended, as some people ask friends or family to submit their own blood, skewing the results. Tests can be tailored to test for most drugs, including alcohol, cannabis, opiates (such as heroin) and amphetamines (for example, speed.)


Should I Tell My Employer If I Have a Drug Addiction?

Yes. If you work for a caring employer, they will be sympathetic and offer support. In some cases, managers are advised to avoid disciplinary action if employees have failed a drug test and signpost them to their GP or local support service.  Many employers also offer health and well-being benefits as part of their employment package, and specialist drug treatment may fall under this at no cost to the employee. If your addiction affects your performance at work and you keep taking time off, you risk losing your job. Speak to your employer before your addiction takes over.


Where Do I Get Help For My Drug Addiction?

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Private drug and alcohol rehab centres give you the best chance of beating your drug addiction for good.  Cassiobury Court provides residential drug rehab programmes where every activity aims to rebuild lives and purpose. Private rehab helps people get drug-free and provides intensive counselling and daily activities to help addicts heal their minds and bodies. 

Patients stay with us from 28 days to three months, leaving them refreshed, optimistic and determined to live a sober life. All patients benefit from 365 days of free aftercare to help prevent a relapse, supporting them to make the right choices on their path to recovery.  If you’re suffering from drug addiction or worried about a friend or family member, why not contact us today? We’re open 24 hours a day to answer any questions.

Need admission to our centre right away? Speak to our admissions team.

Call us TODAY on 0800 001 4070, or text HELP to 83222.


Raffa Bari

Raffa Bari - Author Last updated: 11th November 2022

CQC Registered Manager

Raffa manages the day to day caring services here at Cassiobury Court. Dedicated to the treatment and well being of our visitors she is an outstanding mental health coach registered with BAAT (British Association of Art Therapists). Raffa has outstanding experience in managing rehabs across the country and is vastly experienced at helping people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.