According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), 70 percent of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed, and drug abuse costs employers an estimated $81 billion a year. NCADD notes that employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol “can cause expensive problems for business and industry, ranging from lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft, and low employee morale, to increases in health care costs, legal liabilities, and workers’ compensation costs.” In specific, according to NCADD, being under the influence on the job can lead to inconsistent work quality, poor concentration and lack of focus, lowered productivity or erratic work patterns, needless risk taking, and/or disregard for the safety of the self and others, leading to work-related accidents and injuries.

While virtually all large employers screen applicants for substance abuse, and also engage in random and for-cause testing of existing employees while employed, smaller businesses are often unable to afford this kind of testing or consider it to be a lower business priority. As a result, individuals with substance abuse problems are more likely to seek employment in small businesses, often after having been rejected by larger employers for positive tests. These individual have learned that there is less likelihood of their being tested by small businesses prior to being hired and/or tested randomly after being hired.

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