Workplace Drug Testing

  • In 2015-16 Montana had the 3rd highest rate of occupational fatalities.
  • Workplace drug and alcohol testing programs effectively reduce death, injury, and property damage.
  • Montana’s workplace drug testing law needs to be updated to reflect current technology.
  • Almost half of all fatal occupational injuries are transportation incidents.

In 2004, there were approximately 3.4 million admissions to the ER for workplace related injuries in the United States. That’s 2.5 admissions per 100 full-time equivalent workers from the age of 15 and older. The costs associated with workplace injuries and/or deaths in the United States exceeds $100 billion dollars annually.

Substance use and abuse is the number one suspect that contributes to occupation injuries and/or deaths. For instance, according to the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, a combined 30% of full-time workers met the criteria, for either heavy alcohol use and/or abuse, as well as drug abuse in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Of those, approximately 18% reported being either under the influence or hung over during the workday. Click here for more information and statistics on the Effects of Substance Abuse on Workplace Injuries.

So what does all this have to do with Workplace Drug Testing in Montana and DUI Deaths?

Unfortunately, Montana is included among those totals. According to the CFOI (Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries), in 2015-16 Montana had the 3rd highest rate of occupational fatalities in the United States.

Suffice it to say, Montana has a problem. Although alcohol use and abuse within the workplace is still a massive problem, the use of illicit drugs, and prescription drugs has increased dramatically. The amount of workers in the United States testing positive for these drugs is climbing rapidly. Just to give you an idea, Marijuana positivity increased 75% from 2013 to 2016. That’s not all either, positivity increases were reported for other drugs as well, including cocaine and methamphetamine. The fact of the matter is, increases in the use of Illicit drugs has driven Workforce Drug Positivity to it’s Highest Rate in 12 years. This includes Montana.

We need safer workplaces, and one way to get there is by implementing additional drug and alcohol testing programs.

Drug testing is a powerful tool, and a huge deterrent for occasional and weekend users to stay sober. And considering that a large portion of these occupational fatalities involve driving under the influence, it can also be used as a tool to prevent DUI deaths.

Click here for more information on how Montana can improve the Workplace Drug Testing Statute.

It’s not a simple fix, but of course it never is. Additional drug screening programs require time and money, however, compared to the amount of money Montana has spent on occupational injuries, both directly (medical expenses), and indirectly (loss of wages, etc), I think it just might be worth every penny.

Montana’s workplace drug testing needs to be updated to reflect current technologies.

Currently, Urine testing is the most popular Drug Screening test being used in Montana, however, the reliability of these tests has become less and less. Cheaters, so to speak, have found ways to fake, and/or “beat” the tests, either by using synthetic urine purchased on the internet, or by other means, such as small undetectable devices hidden under clothing, “water-loading” and/or diluting. It’s almost become a joke. However, there are other Drug Detection Methods we can use!

For example, Oral Fluid Drug Testing is climbing in popularity. It takes just minutes to obtain a collection of saliva, and it can be observed, therefore eliminating attempts to cheat on the tests. Click here fore more information on The Promises and Pitfalls of Oral Fluid Drug Testing.

As Montana’s Drug problem continues to grow, so will work related injuries and/or deaths. Considering that almost half of all fatal occupational injuries are transportation incidents, workplace drug testing can be used as a tool in preventing DUI deaths across the state, as well as in the United States.


Other Resources Include: