By Kevin Kelley
As a cost associated with drug usage, workplace drug testing is a hidden cost of the war on drugs. It has been estimated in the mid-1990s that the United States spent $1 billion annually to drug test about 20 million workers.
According to a congressional committee, the estimated cost of each positive result for government positions was $77,000 because the positive rate was only 0.5%. Considering there are close to 2 million government employees at the federal, state, and local levels, and using the amount and percentage rate stated above, it has cost taxpayers a cumulative total of $7.6 billion to identify drug usage in 0.5% of all government applicants.
Shepard, Edward M., and Thomas J. Clifton, Drug Testing and Labor Productivity: Estimates Applying a Production Function Model, Institute of Industrial Relations, Research Paper No. 18, Le Moyne University, Syracuse, NY (1998), p. 8.
"Workplace Substance Abuse Testing, Drug Testing: Cost and Effect," Cornell/Smithers Report, Utica, New York: Cornell University (January 1992).