Random Drug Testing: What Is It For? 

Random drug testing is a strong disincentive that keeps drug users in check as it’s usually conducted unannounced. Employees are selected through a random selection process, either one or more, by the employers for a drug-testing program.  

This random selection process ensures that there is no bias in picking employees for the test and that all of them have an equal chance of being chosen, even if they’ve been tested recently.

Random drug testing is a more effective deterrent for drug use, and it’s also more efficient at detecting it than pre-employment testing, as employees have an idea of when they may get selected for the exercise. 

Why Do Companies Conduct Random Drug Tests on Their Employees? 

Employee drug use is a huge safety concern in the United States. According to research conducted by the U.S Department of Justice, businesses in the U.S lose more than $140 billion annually because of alcohol and drug abuse.  

The hardest part of all this is that employees who are usually under the influence of these drugs are pretty good at hiding their dependence and addiction. 

And despite an employer’s pure intentions of trying to help an employee who may be addicted to drug use, it’s almost always impossible to detect drug use, and when they do, it’s often too late. 

Many employees don’t know that their employees use opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine. So as an insurance policy, companies use random drug tests to ensure employees are safe to do their jobs.

Reasons Why Employees Need to Be Randomly Drug Tested 

If you’re an employer, you probably have an idea of how one employee who’s under the influence can endanger your entire workforce. So, below are some reasons why random drug testing is essential. 


  1. It ensures all you’re Workers Are Sober While on the Job 

Random drug testing will help you ensure that your workforce is sober on the job instead of picking out any specific individuals you suspect are under the influence. The names of your employees are selected from a pool, and then those employees are tested. Choosing specific individuals is another test —a reasonable suspicion test. 


  1. You’re Not a Mind Reader 

As mentioned above, drug users have become very skilled at hiding their drug use. Regardless of whether you’re handling a staff of fewer than 100 employees or thousands spread across multiple locations, it’s nearly impossible to realize when an employee is on something. Random drug tests eliminate the need for guessing, and you never have to be a “mind reader.” 


  1. Drug Use at the Workplace Is a Liability 

It’s impossible to compare drug use today to a decade ago. Drugs are very potent today, and many more people use them now more than ever. Regardless of whether your employees are taking cocaine, weed, or painkillers, the outcome is usually the same. 

Employees under the influence jeopardize their work safety and colleagues, and it can end in serious injury. Random drug tests also help employers make the workplace healthier for everyone.


  1. Random Testing Curbs Drug Use in the Workplace   

 No drug user will want to work for a company that actively conducts random drug tests. Conducting random drug tests will help you weed out candidates you don’t want. Additionally, drug employees will more likely test positive on random drug testing, which can be an excellent opportunity to get them help. 


Common Drug Test Types 

 When an employer decides to conduct a random drug test, there are a couple of options regarding the type of test and how the specimens will be collected. The most common sample types include blood, urine, saliva, and hair. 

All these differ in ease of collection, cost, and detection time. Although there’s a debate on which of these methods is effective, each has its pros and cons. So here is some information about each one to help you decide. 

1. Urine Drug Testing 

Urine samples are entirely non-invasive and relatively simple to collect. It’s the least expensive drug testing method and the most used. Drug detection with this method is quite adequate, and test administrators can quickly find illegal drugs.

2. Blood Drug Testing 

Blood Testing is more expensive and more invasive than other drug testing methods. They are more accurate and effectively give the exact level of drugs in one’s bloodstream. This method is commonly used for legal investigations or medical settings instead of employee-related drug testing. 

3. Saliva Drug Testing 

Saliva samples are slightly more expensive than urine drug testing and relatively non-invasive. This drug testing method is becoming popular because it’s much easier to collect samples and detect recent drug use effectively. 

4. Hair Drug Testing 

Hair samples are the best methods to detect long-term drug use, but they don’t detect recent drug use. This makes it a poor choice for reasonable suspicion testing or post-accident testing. Hair drug testing is expensive, and it also requires hair, making it challenging to test people with short or no hair.


Conducting a random drug testing program may seem intimidating, but it’s necessary for workplace safety. The success of your random drug testing program will depend on the element of surprise. Your employees are less likely to be under the influence if they know a test is coming up anytime soon. 





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