5 Statistics on Drug Use in the Workplace

by | Jul 18, 2019 | Addiction | 0 comments

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Drug use in the workplace is much more prevalent than you’d think. Many addicts are functioning addicts, and can usually hide their addiction pretty well. They can be your accountant, your favorite cashier at your local grocery store, your child’s teacher or even your doctor. To explore the prevalence and impact of this issue, here are 5 statistics on drug use in the workplace.

#1. More than 70% of Americans Dealing with Alcohol or Drug Addiction Are Employed

You heard that right. Statistics show that 1 in 7 Americans will succumb to addiction in their lifetime. Of these individuals, more than 70% of them will still hold a job and be employed.

As mentioned above, these individuals can be anyone and can hold different jobs and positions. Addiction does not discriminate. They can be your child’s elementary school teacher or even your doctor. They can be your boss or even your employee.

Some professions are more susceptible to addiction than others. These individuals typically work in high stress environments, and may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Addiction is most prevalent among the following professions:

  • Health care professionals, like doctors and nurses
  • Law enforcement officers, as they are prone to developing PTSD
  • Farming, fishing and forestry professionals
  • Restaurant workers

Those who work in these professions should be wary of their environment, and be sure that they receive the mental health support that they need. Those who find themselves relying on drugs or alcohol should seek professional help immediately or as soon as possible.

#2. Drug Use in the Workplace Results in an Average of $81 Billion in Lost Profits Every Year

Those numbers are staggering. Drug use in the workplace causes a huge loss in profits every year for many companies. This is because substance abuse can lead to a loss in productivity, an increase in absenteeism, high turnover rates, an increase in theft and a deprecation in the quality of work produced.

“Alcoholics will miss 34% more work days than non-alcoholic workers. They’re more likely to call in and report that they are sick last-minute while they are nursing a hangover.”

Those who struggle with addiction are less likely to show up for work. When they do, they may not be productive. They may spend a huge majority of their working hours obsessing over how they are going to obtain drugs to get high later on in the day. Some workers may be under the influence while they are at work, which means that they may produce lower quality work or make more errors.

#3. Only 50% of Organizations in America Require Pre-Employment Screenings for All New Hires

With substance abuse and addiction rates at an all-time high, you would think that more employers would try to snuff out this issue. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Only a little over 50% of organizations in America require pre-employment drug screenings for all new hires. This includes professions in high-risk industries, like public safety and screenings.

It’s also important to note that not many employers offer drug testing programs. This is because state laws have restrictions on who can be drug tested and when they can be drug tested.

Many addiction experts urge more employers to develop a solid drug testing program within their company. This may reduce drug use in the workplace, which can lead to an increase in productivity and quality of work.

#4. 217 Workers Died on the Job in 2016 Due to an Overdose

Overdose is the number one killer of Americans. In fact, it is now the leading killer of those who are under the age of 55. As the opioid epidemic continues to spread, more and more Americans are succumbing to overdoses.

More than 70,200 Americans died from an overdose in 2017 alone. This is a significant increase from the years before.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 217 workers died on the job due to an unintentional overdose. This is a huge liability for companies. Those who die from an overdose may put their fellow colleagues at-risk if they are working in a high-risk position, like in mining or construction.

What’s scarier is that this number is actually a 30% increase from 2015. Statistics show that these numbers are continuing to rise year after year.

#5. Opioids Abuse Account for Anywhere from $25.6 to $53.4 Billion in Lost Productivity Each Year

Opioids and opiates are some of the most commonly abused drugs. A recent survey found that 17.83% of employees reported taking opioids while at work.

This is not surprising, considering the fact that opioids are some of the most common prescription drugs in America. Americans consumed 99% of the world’s hydrocodone, 60% of the world’s hydromorphone and 81% of the world’s oxycodone.

Opioid misuse leads to a 17% and 18% reduction in productivity among men and women, respectively. Those who had an opioid use disorder (OUD) were more likely to be absent from work and more likely to change jobs. In fact, a recent study found that these employees tend to miss 18.5 days more work than those who do not struggle with any type of addiction at all. Additionally, only 58% of those with an addiction to opioids had the same employer throughout the previous year. This is in comparison to 75% of the general population.

Some other interesting things to note is that the annual cost of unexplained absences can be as much as $660 per employee. Also, those struggling with opioid abuse are 4.5 times more likely to visit the ER. They also have healthcare costs that are 8.7 times higher than someone who does not abuse opioids. The last statistic is particularly troubling for employers, as they are usually slapped with higher health insurance premiums as a result.

Do Your Part in Reducing Drug Use in the Workplace

If you’re an employer or if you’re in a position to, you should try to create programs that may reduce drug use in the workplace. This can include anything from hosting drug education classes or offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

By reducing drug use in the workplace, you can improve overall productivity within your company by several folds. You will also see an improvement in the quality of work that is produced, as well as enhanced workplace safety.

Those who are currently struggling with drug use should try to get help as soon as possible. Addiction will only fester and worsen if you let it. Put an end to abusive and addictive behaviors by seeking help from a drug and alcohol rehab center near you.

Here, at Amethyst Recovery, we offer an array of addiction treatment programs that can help. Contact us for more information.

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