Risks of Workplace Drug and Alcohol Use
The following are statistical examples of the risk association with occupational drug and alcohol use:
- Of 12.3 million adult current illicit drug users, 9.4 million (77 percent) work.
- An estimated 6.5 percent of full-time and 8.6 percent of part-time workers are current illicit drug users.
- Alcohol is the most widely abused drug among working adults. An estimated 6.2 percent of adults working full time are heavy drinkers.
- Among employed adults, the highest rates of heavy drinking and current illicit drug use are reported by white, non-Hispanic males who are between the ages of 18 and 25 and have less than a high school education.
- By occupation, the highest rates of current illicit drug use and heavy drinking were reported by food preparation workers, waiters, waitresses and bartenders (19 percent); construction workers (14 percent); service occupations (13 percent); and transportation and material moving workers (10 percent).
- More than 60 percent of adults know someone who has reported for work under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
The following demonstrates the costs associated with occupational drug and alcohol use:
- One in five workers report that they have had to work harder, redo work or cover for a co-worker or have been put in danger or injured as a result a fellow employee’s drinking.
- Up to 40 percent of industrial fatalities and 47 percent of industrial injuries can be linked to alcohol consumption and alcoholism.
- Alcohol and drug abuse has been estimated to cost American businesses roughly 81 billion dollars in lost productivity in just one year—37 billion due to premature death and 44 billion due to illness. Of these combined costs, 86 percent are attributed to drinking.
- Alcoholism is estimated to cause 500 million lost workdays annually.
- Individuals who are current illicit drug users are more than twice as likely (9.3 percent) than those who are not (4.3 percent) to have changed employers three or more times in the past year.
- Individuals who are current illicit drug users are also more likely (12.9 percent) than those who are not (5 percent) to have skipped one or more work days in the past month.
- Similarly, individuals who are current heavy alcohol users are more likely (8 percent) than those who are not (4.4 percent) to have changed employers three or more times in the past year.
- Individuals who are current heavy alcohol users are also more likely (11.3 percent) than those who are not (5.1 percent) to have skipped one or more work days in the past month. Results from a US Postal Service study revealed that employees who tested positive in a pre-employment drug test are 66 percent more likely to be absent and 77 percent more likely to be discharged within three years than those who tested negative.
- Of callers to the National Cocaine Helpline, 75 percent admit to having used drugs on the job, 64 percent report that drugs have adversely affected their job performance, 44 percent say they have sold drugs to fellow employees and 18 percent say they have stolen from coworkers to support their drug habit.
Employee drug use is dependent on the size of their workforce
- 44% work for small establishments (1-24 employees)
- 43 percent work for medium establishments (25-499 employees)
- 13 percent work for large establishments (500 or more employees)
The population of .full time employed heavy drinkers is:
- 36 percent work for small establishments
- 47 percent work for medium establishments
- 17 percent work for large establishments