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Workplace: Drug-Free Policy

  • By: Grant Smolen & Steven Davenport
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Many employers have policies designed to create “drug-free workplaces,” which can mean both workplaces where employees are not intoxicated and do not possess or distribute illegal drugs, or workplaces where employees abstain from illicit drug use even outside of work hours. The focus is on increasing workforce productivity and workplace safety, and in some cases identifying employees in need of drug treatment. Anti-discrimination rules and concerns about procedural fairness and intrusion into workers’ personal lives act as constraints on those policies.

Some research finds negative statistical associations between illicit drug use and workplace safety and productivity, although the literature fails to produce a definite causal link. The federal government has enacted legislation governing specific safety-sensitive sectors as well as nationwide anti-discrimination practices. Additionally, the federal government ...

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