Effectiveness and benefit-cost of peer-based workplace substance abuse prevention coupled with random testing

Few studies have evaluated the impact of workplace substance abuse prevention programs on occupational injury, despite this being a justification for these programs. This paper estimates the effectiveness and benefit-cost ratio of a peer-based substance abuse prevention program at a U.S. transportation company, implemented in phases from 1988 to 1990. The program focuses on changing workplace attitudes toward on-the-job substance use in addition to training workers to recognize and intervene with coworkers who have a problem. The program was strengthened by federally mandated random drug and alcohol testing (implemented, respectively, in 1990 and 1994). With time-series analysis, we analyzed the association of monthly injury rates and costs with phased program implementation, controlling for industry injury trend. The combination of the peer-based program and testing was associated with an approximate one-third reduction in injury rate, avoiding an estimated $48 million in employer costs in 1999. That year, the peer-based program cost the company $35 and testing cost another $35 per employee. The program avoided an estimated $1850 in employer injury costs per employee in 1999, corresponding to a benefit-cost ratio of 26:1. The findings suggest that peer-based programs buttressed by random testing can be cost-effective in the workplace.


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  • Accession Number: 01051776
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2007 12:48PM