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Effectivness of Workplace Drug Prevention Policies: Does 'Zero Tolerance' Work?

NCJ Number
Stephen L. Mehay; Rosalie L. Pacula
Date Published
October 1999
38 pages
This paper analyzes the deterrent effect of the military’s zero tolerance workplace drug-testing policy.
Although workplace drug-testing policies have become increasingly more common in recent years, there is relatively little research concerning the effectiveness of such programs on decreasing rates of drug use among employees. As such, the authors studied the deterrent effects of the military’s aggressive workplace drug-testing policy, which was implemented in 1981 and includes both random employee drug testing and zero tolerance. The authors compared data contained in the 1979 and 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) and the 1980 and 1995 Department of Defense Worldwide Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Military Personnel (DODWWS). They discovered that the rate of illicit drug use among military personnel became significantly lower than civilian rates after the implementation of the military’s drug-testing policy. As such, the authors conclude that strict employer drug-testing policies are highly effective in curbing illicit drug use in both current and potential users. References, tables