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Government Says 70 Percent Of Drug Users Are Fully Employed
ACLU Report Urges End To Workplace Drug Tests

The American Civil Liberties Union is urging the U.S. Government and corporate America to end workplace drug testing, citing high costs and low dividends according to the 27-page report published by the group. The report examines 10 years of research and empirical evidence on drug use among workers relating to the impact on performance and effectiveness in identifying workplace abuse.

The ACLU report concluded:
•Based on the federal government's drug testing program, it costs $77,000 to identify one drug user. •Lost productivity studies claiming that drug users cost businesses up to $100 billion each year are based
on vague comparisons of household drug use and income, with no analysis of actual productivity data.

•A recent survey of 63 Silicon Valley companies found that drug-testing reduces, rather than enhances worker productivity.

•The moderate use of illicit drugs by workers during off-duty hours is no more likely than moderate off-duty alcohol use to compromise worker safety.

"We have always believed drug testing of unimpaired workers stands the presumption of innocence on its head and violates the most fundamental privacy rights," said Ira Glasser, ACLU Executive Director. "Now we know that sacrificing these rights serves no legitimate business purpose either."

Government Says 70 Percent Of Drug Users Are Fully Employed.

Sept. 9, 1999, Washington, DC: Seventy percent of the nation's drug users are also part of the full-time workforce, according to a report
entitled Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and Programs: Results
from the 1994 and 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA).

The survey, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, questioned 7,957 full-time employees aged 18-49 in 1997.

The survey estimates 6.3 million full-time employees are current illicit
drug users (defined as drug use in the past 30 days), which amounts to
less than one out of twelve full-time employees (eight percent), a level
which remained constant from the 1994 survey.

"This survey undermines the government's claim that drug users are a drain on society," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director. "By their own data, they demonstrate that most drug users, particularly marijuana smokers, are hard-working and responsible citizens."

Of the population surveyed, the number of people opposing drug testing dropped significantly in most categories.

In 1994, 40.3 percent of current drug users said they were less likely to work for an employer who randomly tested for drug use, as opposed to 28.5 percent in 1997.

In 1994, 11.6 percent of non-users were less
likely to work for an employer who randomly tested for drug use, as
opposed to 6.4 percent in 1997.

The Full Survey can be viewed at Report

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