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Miscellaneous Statements on Drug Policy

1994 American Management Survey on workplace drug testing.

The following is taken from the 1994 American Management Survey on workplace drug testing. (Unpublished)

The survey responses are for January 1994 and represent the American Management Association (AMA's) corporate membership of 7000 U.S. organizations, which employ in total a quarter of the American workforce.

According to the survey. . . .

The percentage of companies that drug test employees rose from 84.8 % (January 1993) to 87.2% (January 1994) This represents an increase of over 300% since 1987.

Business category is the most important factor in the occurrence of testing programs. The two categories most likely to test are manufacturing firms (93%) and transportation companies (92%). Size also plays a role -- 91% of organizations with more than 1000 employees test, though smaller ones aren't far behind (81%). Geographically, there are fairly substantial variations too: companies in the desert and mountain states of the West are the most likely to test (91%), while companies in New England are the least likely (68%).

53% of companies that test do so under government mandate.

The test-positive rate, which had fallen steadily since 1989, levelled in 1993, at 2.5%. The AMA attributes this not to lesser use, but to the fact that test-positives rates fell consistently only as the testing pool increased -- the levelling in 1993 and 1994 reflects the levelling in the growth of testing programs.

There is a direct correlation between the increase in testing and the decrease in test-positive rates. According to the AMA, this is not because testing acts as a deterrent to drug use, but rather because as more employees are being tested for reasons other than suspicion of use, the test-positive rate would naturally fall.

Among companies that perform random testing, the 1993 test-positive rate was 2.1%. Among those companies that test only for cause, the rate was 11.1%.

Companies that offer drug education programs as well as testing have lower test-positive rates than those that provide only testing.

Only 5% of companies neither test employees nor offer drug education programs.

Action on test-positive employees: 31% of companies dismiss test-positives, and more than half of these offer no other alternative. The rest regard firing as a last resort, after counselling and disciplinary actions have been trlied.

68% of companies test new hires. Tests are rarely given as part of the application process per se; instead testing occurs when the applicant has already been offered the job. The offer is then conditional on the applicant passing the test. 1% of companies that test new hires will hire test-positives on a probationary basis; 95% specifically state that test-positives will not be hired, the rest take other actions, such as retesting at a later date.

METHODS -- 82.1% use urine testing. 12.9% use blood testing. 1.1% use hair testing. 0.9% use performance testing.

Of those who use urine testing, only 70% retest an initial positive with a more rigorous, confirmatory test. 13% repeat the same procedure on the same sample. 5% take and test a new sample. 7% perform no validation.

Only 79% of those that urine test use NIDA-certified labs. Only 48% use a medical review officer (MRO) to analyze test findings, judge them against the testee's medical history, and render a verdict.

Only 6% of firms that test pay lower insurance premiums because of their programs.

"It may seem reasonable to assume that drug testing has a deterrent effect on drug use. . . . However, no finding of this eight-year AMA survey effort can confirm as a statistical certainty that testing does in fact deter use. . . . Testing cannot and should not be expected to take the place of good supervision. The American Management Association has consistently advised that. . . . Actions regarding employee discipline be performance-based."

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