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AMA (American Management Association) Survey on Workplace Drug Testing and Drug Abuse Policies, 1996

NCJ Number
Date Published
9 pages
This report presents the findings and analysis of the American Management Association's (AMA's) 10th annual survey on workplace drug testing, which was mailed in January 1996 to human resource managers in AMA-member companies, yielding 961 usable responses.
A review of the trend in corporate drug testing over the 10 years of the survey shows that although it was uncommon in 1987, it has become routine today. The key dates in its increase are 1988, with the passage of the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act; 1990, which saw the implementation of Department of Transportation regulations that mandated testing in safety- sensitive positions; and 1994, when additional Department of Transportation regulations expanded the number of employees subject to random or periodic testing. The survey shows that few companies have attempted to justify the ever-increasing costs of employee drug testing, and fewer still keep the kind of statistical records necessary to measure its effectiveness in deterring employee drug use. The key factors in the fall of test- positive rates since 1989 have been the ongoing increase in periodic or random testing programs and in the number of employees so tested. Urine sampling, the least expensive means of drug testing, remains the most popular form, but despite well- known parameters, validation policies remain inconsistent. Anti- drug initiatives in tandem with testing programs have been victims of recent cost-cutting in some organizations. In 1995 the average cost per testee was $35; the average total cost was $50,161, up from $48,227 in 1994. Although 90 percent of the respondents believe that drug testing is effective in dealing with drug abuse in the workplace, this belief is based on assumptions unsupported by data, since the respondents could not cite any statistical evidence. The caution offered by this report is not that drug testing is ineffective, because it is very effective in identifying drug users, but 10 years of survey data fail to provide evidence that testing deters drug use. Extensive data figures