South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said last week that she can’t back up claims that half of the people wanting work at the Energy Department’s Savannah River Site failed drug tests and half of the remainder couldn’t pass reading and writing tests.
Haley said in an interview with The Associated Press that she’s learned a lesson and is going to be more careful. ”I’ve never felt like I had to back up what people tell me. You assume that you’re given good information,” Haley said. “And now I’m learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something.”
It was a pretty significant and shocking claim made by the Governor, which was drastically different from figures provided by Quest Diagnostics’ annual report of pre-employment and workplace drug testing.
This claims that in 2010, less than 2 percent of pre-employment tests were positive for drugs nationally. Meanwhile, data from 4.5 million urine test
samples shows 3.5 percent of the overall workforce tested positive for drugs after they were offered jobs but before being hired. That rate has been below 4 percent since 2006. In South Carolina, the overall failure rate was 6.5 percent.
While 6.5 percent is a figure we should obviously strive to reduce further, it is a far cry from the 50 percent that Haley suggested.