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Just Saying No.

"We always think that we're not going to get caught, so employees take a chance playing Russian roulette with occasional drug use," says Dominic Taurone, a certified drug and alcohol counselor and director of Pacificare Behavior Health's Labor and Division Trust.

But most people who get caught with drugs in their system on the job are not addicts. "It's somebody who smoked a joint or did a line on a Saturday night, and then their number comes for testing when they show up for work," he says.

This tendency to gamble with fate led the U.S. Congress to pass the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1995, mandating drug testing for safety-sensitive positions. At the time, 25 percent of the tests were positive. Today that number has dropped to between 6 percent and 9 percent. The testing itself has had something to do with that decrease, as has an awareness of the importance of treatment programs to help employees with substance abuse problems. This may be good news for society in general, but it's great news for risk managers in particular, as they are the ones who have to figure an angle to pay for these tests, which are expensive, and for the consequences for those who fail the tests, which are even more expensive.
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Publication:Risk Management
Date:Aug 1, 2000
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