South Africa’s Successful Employment Drug Testing Program

After the South African Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence concluded that drug abuse in the workplace was costing that nation’s business sector millions of dollars per year, strong steps were taken to eliminate employee addiction. Thousands of lost man-hours due to drug related illnesses and absenteeism spurred South Africa to invest heavily in a program to detect employees with addictions. Rather than simply terminating employment in the wake of a positive test, the drug detection program in place offered targeted counseling and life management to help workers kick their addictions.

The employment drug testing program in South Africa should be used as a shining example of how similar programs in the United States can and should work. The emphasis on assisting employees who are suffering from addiction, rather than ending the work relationship entirely, is crucial in truly ending the drug use once and for all. By strictly monitoring employees, using pre-screenings during the hiring process as well as periodic random tests, companies can ensure that their workplace is drug free and as productive as possible.


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