Goodyear, director of the Drug Free Workplace program for the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, spoke to a group at Carrollton’s Burson Center Wednesday on the importance of maintaining a clean and sober work force.
The former captain with the Cobb County Police Department shared several other statistics, all of them concerning the negative effect drug users have on a workplace.
“It’s like a cancer in your office,” Goodyear said.
Employed drug users cost American businesses approximately $100 billion annually because of lost productivity, absenteeism and accidents, the former captain with 29 years of experience in law enforcement said. They also cause 500 million work days to be lost annually.
“Most people just don’t know these things,” Goodyear said. “But I’ve made a career out of attacking the supply side of the equation, and that doesn’t work. So now we’re working on attacking the demand side, and you can’t do that without implementing programs at the places where drug users work.”
Although the U.S. has only 4 percent of the world’s population, Goodyear said, its citizens consume 66 percent of the world’s drugs — a fact he finds particularly disturbing.
Goodyear advocated the council’s Drug Free Workplace program, saying meeting all its requirements results in a discount on workers compensation insurance premiums.
“Doing all this, if you get certified and hand that certificate to your insurance provider, they are required by law to give you a 7.5 percent discount on your insurance costs,” Goodyear said. “And that can mean a great deal of savings for a lot of businesses.”
The speaker highlighted the differences — and the similarities — between requirements for being a part of the Drug Free Workplace program and the requirements thrust upon businesses with commercial vehicles by both the state and federal departments of transportation.
One key difference between the two requirements is that the voluntary program does not require random drug testing of employees, though it is “highly recommended.”
“The employer gets to decide what ‘random’ means; that’s the best part,” Goodyear said. “You can test only one employee at random per year, or you can test a dozen of them every month. Just having one is a deterrent.”
The speaker said having a random testing plan in place “adds teeth” to the program.
The DOT requirements are mandatory for companies with at least one driver with a commercial driving license — something many business owners don’t know, Goodyear said.
“People don’t know about this, but DOT doesn’t care,” he said. “Ignorance of the law means nothing to them. The motivation for following their guidelines is to avoid their fines, which can be steep, to put it lightly.”
Small businesses are more vulnerable to drug users but test their employees less, Goodyear said.
“We aren’t out to ‘get’ somebody,” he said. “We’re out to help people.”