Montana bill HB 197 would expand drug and alcohol testing
last week that would expand drug and alcohol testing to all working people in the state. Bill sponsor, Republican Champ Edmunds of Missoula says the bill will help reduce workers compensation rates for employers. Edmunds says, “This only allows, it doesn’t require drug testing. It just allows drug testing, the same way it does now and I think the end effect of this will be a reduction in workers comp. rate. I know that right now if you show the workers comp insurance companies that you have drug testing in place it reduces your rates.” Edmunds says the bill would also reduce the amount of injuries in the workplace. Several opponents spoke against the bill, saying it violates citizens’ constitutional rights. Why is drug testing in the workplace important? Many question the fairness in employment drug testing, and they have a fair argument to hear. However, when considering the risks employers are putting themselves at without a drug testing policy, common sense certainly suggests it’s in their best interests. Check out a few facts that highlight the significance of drug testing in the workplace:
- More than six percent of the population over 12 years of age (13.9 million people) has used drugs within the past thirty days.
- Seventy-three percent of all current drug users aged 18 and older (8.3 million adults) are employed. This includes 6.7 million full-time workers and 1.6 million part-time workers.
- Of the 11.2 million heavy drinkers in the USA, 30 percent (3.3 million) also were current illicit drug users.
- According to a national survey conducted by the Hazelden Foundation, more than sixty percent of adults know people who have gone to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Alcoholism costs 500 million lost work days each year, while alcohol and drug abuse cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
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