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Drug Testing

Brief Description

Some schools, hospitals, and places of employment conduct drug testing. There are a number of ways this can be done, including: pre-employment testing, random testing, reasonable suspicion/cause testing, post-accident testing, return to duty testing, and followup testing. This usually involves collecting urine samples to test for drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, and opiates.

Drug Testing and Workplace Issues

According to recent data, 67.9 percent of all adult illegal drug users are employed full or part time, as are most binge and heavy alcohol users.1 Studies show that when compared with non-substance users, substance using employees are more likely to:

  • Change jobs frequently
  • Be late to or absent from work
  • Be less productive
  • Be involved in a workplace accident and potentially harm others
  • File a workers’ compensation claim.

Employers who have implemented drug-free workplace programs have important experiences to share.

  • Employers with successful drug-free workplace programs report improvements in morale and productivity, and decreases in absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover, and theft.
  • Employers with long-standing programs report better health status among employees and family members and decreased use of medical benefits by these same groups.
  • Some organizations with drug-free workplace programs qualify for incentives, such as decreased costs for workers’ compensation and other kinds of insurance.


1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013. Available at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.htm#ch2.10

Drug-free Workplace Resources

If you are an employer and would like information about creating and implementing a prevention and treatment program for your employees, call the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s Workplace Helpline at 1-800-967-5752. The following resources provide more information about drug-testing in the workplace, including drug-free requirements for Federal contractors and grantees and for certain transportation employees.

Drug Testing in Schools

Following models established in the workplace, some schools have started random drug testing or testing students suspected of drug use (called reasonable suspicion/cause testing). The goal of testing is to deter drug use and identify students who use drugs so they can be helped. For more information, see NIDA’s:

Other Resources

Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies in human volunteers conducted to answer specific health questions. Learn about the NIH-sponsored clinical trials available to you.

Other Clinical Trials information sources:

This page was last updated September 2014

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    NIDA (). Drug Testing. Retrieved , from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/drug-testing

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