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The Impact of Workplace Drug Testing Programs on Employee Drug Use

Principal Investigator: Michael French, Ph.D. , Associate Professor
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): French M.T., Roebuck M.C., Alexandre P.K.
Article Title: Illicit drug use, employment, and labor force participation
Journal: Southern Economic Journal
Volume/Issue/Pages: 68, 2: 349-368
Year: 2001
Abstract:
Illicit drug use has declined among the U.S. adult population, but national surveys show the majority of illicit drug users are employed. Concern about workplace productivity, absenteeism, and safety has led many employers to establish employee assistance and drug testing programs. Given the sharp interest in workplace interventions, more information is needed about the relationships between drug use and labor market status. This study estimated the probability of employment and labor force participation for different types of drug users using nationally representative data from the 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Results strongly indicated that chronic drug use was significantly related (negative) to employment for both genders and labor force participation for males. Furthermore, nonchronic drug use was not significantly related to employment or labor force participation. These findings suggest that workplace policies for illicit drug use should consider chronic or problem drug users apart from light or casual users.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Feng W., Zhou W., Butler J.S., Booth B.M., French M.T.
Article Title: The impact of problem drinking on employment
Journal: Health Economics
Volume/Issue/Pages: 10, 6: 509-521
Year: 2001
Abstract:
Social cost studies report that alcohol use and misuse impose a great economic burden on society, and over half of the total economic costs are estimated to be due to the loss of work productivity. Controversy remains, however, as to the magnitude and direction of the effects of alcohol consumption on productivity. Furthermore, most of the studies have looked at the relationship between problem drinking and wages. This paper investigates the impact of problem drinking on employment by analysing a random sample of men and women of prime working age from six Southern states in the US (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee). The data set contains 4898 females and 3224 males, with information on both employment and problem drinking. To eliminate the bias that may result from single-equation estimation, we used a bivariate probit model to control for possible correlation in the unobservable factors that affect both problem drinking and employment. We find no significant negative association between problem drinking and employment for both men and women, controlling for other covariates. The findings are consistent with other research and highlight several methodological issues. Furthermore, the study suggests that estimates of the costs of problem drinking may be overstated owing to misleading labour supply relationships.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): French M.T., Roebuck M.C., Alexandre P.K.
Article Title: To test or not to test: Do workplace drug testing programs discourage employee drug use?
Journal: Social Science Research
Volume/Issue/Pages: 33, 1: 45-63
Year: 2004
Abstract:
Workplace drug testing programs are often met with intense criticism. Despite resistance among labor and consumer groups and a lack of rigorous empirical evidence regarding effectiveness, drug testing programs have remained popular with employers throughout the 1990s and into the current century. The present study analyzed nationally representative data on over 15,000 US households to determine whether various types of workplace drug testing programs influenced the probability of drug use by workers. The study estimated several empirical specifications using both univariate and bivariate probit techniques. The specification tests favored the bivariate probit model over the univariate probit model. Estimated marginal effects of drug testing on any drug use were negative, significant, and relatively large, indicating that drug testing programs are achieving one of the desired effects. The results were similar when any drug use was replaced with chronic drug use in the models. These results have important policy implications regarding the effectiveness and economic viability of workplace anti-drug programs.

 
   
 
 
     
   
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