Originally Published: February 9, 2008 7:47 p.m.
Use of illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, and misuse of prescription drugs can have negative effects on our daily lives. And people with drug and alcohol problems are not likely to leave those problems behind when they come to work. Business owners, managers and supervisors locally may not be aware of the impact that substance abuse can have on the workplace - or, they may be all too aware.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have published the following workplace substance abuse statistics in a fact sheet. Those statistics that are from other research sources than SAMHSA are noted:
About three fourths of those 18 and older who use illegal drugs also work.
Non-medical use of prescription drugs is a national problem. According to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7 million Americans were current users of psychotherapeutic drugs taken non-medically. SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network reported that of the nearly 2 million drug-related emergency department visits in 2004, over 25 percent were related to non-medical use of prescription and
In a 2002 survey of health-related behaviors among military personnel, over 17 percent reported loss of productivity attributable to alcohol (Source: Dept of Defense).
Most binge drinkers and heavy alcohol users are employed. Of adult binge drinkers, 79.4 percent are employed either full or part-time. Of adult heavy drinkers, 79.2 percent are employed.
Workers in construction and mining, wholesale, and retail industries are 25 percent to 45 percent more likely to have a serious alcohol problem than the average U.S. Worker (Source: George Washington University Medical Center).
The addictions of co-workers' family members may also affect the workplace. In a national survey of employees, more than one third said that at least one of their co-workers had been distracted, less productive or absent from work because of alcohol or other drug addiction in their family. (Source: Hazelden).