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10 Steps to Save Money on your Drug Free Workplace Program

  • By: Andrew Easler, Esq.
  • Published: Feb, 4 2016
  • Updated: Dec, 20 2022

Whether you are a small business owner or a compliance executive, you are always looking to save money in the budget while still remaining compliant with local, state, and federal laws and your Drug Free Workplace Program. Cuts can be tricky when involving a DFW Program, you need to ensure that your program still remains effective in order to protect your workers, the public, and your assets. Here are some key points to consider when the current budget just won’t cut it:

Understand your Expenses

Look at your Profit and Loss Statements and get to know how much you are actually spending on your Drug Free Workplace Program. Find out which items cause the biggest strain on your budget.

Look for Alternatives

Okay, so you found that Pre-Employment Urine Drug Testing, for example, was your highest expense. Look around, are there other providers out there who charge less? Do they still provide the same quality service? Are they available by phone? Do they have the relevant training and certifications? Consider your Medical Review Officer. How much does he or she charge you? Is your volume higher than when you first contacted them? Call up their office and renegotiate your contract, they may be willing to give you a better rate if you have proven volume! Call some other MROs and see what they will charge based on your current volume. If your current MRO won’t budge on price, but another will, try another!

Consider In-House vs. a Facility

If you are currently running a program in-house, consider hiring a local collection facility instead. Look at the costs they will charge versus the time and costs involved with running it on your own. If you are currently hiring out the work to a collection facility, consider moving the program in-house. Consider the costs of training and the time involved against the reduced expenses long-term. Much large company’s find that training human resources or compliance staff in-house saves on expenses in the long-term, but some small businesses are better off hiring a collection facility to maintain the program.

Hybridize the Program

Some companies are now moving towards a hybrid program. Perhaps your local collection facility doesn’t offer or charges too much for a post-accident Breath Alcohol Test, why not perform the test with a trained staff member and have them conduct the urine test? Or perhaps a local Breath Alcohol Technician(BAT) has the right price and 24-hour service for post-accident testing, but you would rather do the pre-employment oral fluid drug test on your own--simply take the certification course and hire out the BAT.

Consider Different Mediums

While Urine Drug Tests are still the most popular form of screening and confirmation, perhaps a hair test’s long-term abuse detection suits your needs more appropriately. Maybe you are using an Alcohol Screening Device (ASD) that uses saliva, but investment in a reliable Evidential Breath Testing Device (EBT) that can conduct both screening and confirmation at a fraction of the cost is better off for you in the long-run. Contact your lab to see what is available, then contact other labs to compare pricing. Shop around.

Educate your Team

Whether you are hiring the work out to a collection facility or are doing the screening in-house, proper training is going to ensure that your budget stays on track and your Drug Free Workplace Program is administered appropriately. Consider a course on the DFW Policy at your work, train your in-house technicians every two years to ensure compliance,

“Check yourself before you wreck yourself”

While this article focuses on the expected costs of administering a DFW Policy, there is a high probability that there are many potential liabilities lurking undetected in your current procedures. Have an instructor or inspector visit your site and audit your potential flaws. While training will teach your collectors and technicians what to look for and generic vulnerabilities, a facility inspection will be able to shore up procedural flaws and liabilities in practice. From identity thieves at your facility stealing credit cards from unsuspecting donors to employee conspirators working together to hide “clean” urine in the bathroom ceiling tiles at your facility in order to fraud the testing program, there are a great many potential vulnerabilities that an experienced inspector can discover and then help prevent through an undercover audit. Working at least one of these inspections into the budget annually can save your company thousands in the long-run from lawsuits and reputation to the consequences of substance abuse in the workplace.

Go Electronic

Many laboratories now have the software necessary to complete Chain of Custody Forms (CCFs) into electronic formats. This can reduce printing costs, paper, and also helps reduce errors on forms. Contact your lab today to see if they have this available at your facility.


Along the same lines of electronic CCFs, finding new and improved software can be an amazing time and expense-saver. From ridding yourself of that old filing cabinet and using a program like Google Drive or DropBox to secure records to utilizing an appointment scheduler like Acuity Scheduling that sends new appointment and cancellation notifications, reminders, and follow-up emails and texts, upgrading your procedures can organize your program, reduce costs, errors, and ensure the safety and security of the collection process.

Consult with a Professional

Whether you are a novice collector or an experienced administrator, changes can come quickly in the industry. New methodologies enter the industry and prove to be less expensive than traditional ones, new devices dramatically reduce opportunities for fatal flaws, a professional will have the skills, perspective, and experience necessary to help improve your program and reduce its strain on your budget.

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it. We give great legal advice, but this page (and the rest of our site) is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual legal advice. If you’d like to establish an attorney-client relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official. Sending us an email or reading this page alone doesn’t mean we represent you.

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