Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn
In October 2022, the Current Consulting Group (CCG) – now in its 25th year of serving the drug testing industry – released its 6th Annual Employer Drug Testing Survey that identified several emerging trends that are likely to have a significant impact on how workplace drug and alcohol testing is conducted in the near future.
“The employer survey results highlight some compelling trends that will be of interest to drug testing providers and employers. These trends will likely have a long-term impact on workplace drug testing,” said CCG President and Founding Partner Bill Current. “The two hottest issues are marijuana and oral fluid drug testing.”
The Employer Drug Testing Survey was released in October during a special Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) webinar. Representatives from 41 different industries participated in this year’s survey. Key findings of the employer drug testing survey include the following topics:
- Drug Testing: Urine testing is still the most common method used by employers. Nearly 87% of respondents said they utilize lab-based urine testing and 42% said they use instant urine testing. Hair testing was next at 26% followed by lab-based oral fluid at 26% and instant oral fluid testing at 14%. However, when asked if they were planning to add a testing methodology to their program in the next 12 months, 8.9%, the highest response, said yes to oral fluid testing.
- Alcohol Testing: Most employers, 72%, do not consider alcohol abuse to be a significant problem in their workplaces. Yet, three-quarters of respondents indicated they conduct alcohol testing. The most common alcohol testing method continues to be evidential breath testing (EBT) at 81% followed by urine testing at 27%, saliva screening at 20%, blood testing at 10%, and hair testing at 5%.
- Marijuana: The future of drug testing for marijuana does not look promising as the legalization of marijuana continues to have an impact on employers’ drug testing policy decisions. When asked: “What is your company’s position on testing for marijuana?”, 75% said “we test and plan to continue testing for marijuana,” 15% said “we are not sure what to do about testing for marijuana,” 5% said “we have dropped marijuana from our drug-test panel,” and 5% said “We are considering dropping marijuana from our drug-test panel in the next 12 months.” The top reasons why employers would drop marijuana from their drug-test panel were “we cannot find new employees due to marijuana-positive drug tests” and “what employees do in their own time is not our company’s business.”
- Drug Test Cheating: Only 15% of respondents indicated they were “very concerned” about drug test cheating. But when combined with those who said they were “concerned” (20%) or “somewhat concerned” (28%), a total of 63% are a least a little concerned about donors’ efforts to cheat on drug tests.
- The Future of Drug Testing: The future of drug testing depends a lot on the opinions of both buyers and sellers. When employers were asked “Who has the most influence on changes to your drug testing program?”, 31%, the top response, said third-party administrators (TPAs). The number two most common response was a combination of internal sources such as the human resources, legal, or safety departments within a company. What do employers seek from TPAs and others? Help in solving problems. For instance, when asked “What are the biggest challenges to performing drug tests?”, 41% said “Arranging collections,” and 35% said “Getting test results in a timely manner.” Marijuana legalization was also mentioned by 33% of respondents as one of their biggest challenges when trying to conduct drug testing.
In conclusion, 60% of respondents said they believe drug testing is “very effective.” When asked about the benefits of drug testing, improved safety (83%) topped the list followed by being able to hire better quality employees (62%), a better company reputation (59%), and improved productivity (38%) among others.
“I think the results of Current Consulting Group’s 6th Annual Employer Drug Testing Survey can be considered a wake-up call for the drug testing industry. For instance, employers are experiencing challenges to getting drug tests conducted and many look to their TPA or other providers to offer solutions,” said Current.
“Not all employers are sure of the value of drug testing, especially when it comes to testing for marijuana, and too many have either dropped or are considering dropping marijuana from their drug-test panel,” he said. A commitment to educating employers will go a long way to helping providers be successful in the future.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is a service offering of ClearStar, a leading Human Resources technology company specializing in background checks, drug testing, and occupational health screening. ClearStar has sponsored several webinars with CCG about drug testing laws. For more information, contact ClearStar.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar – does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
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