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GETTING HIGH ON THE JOB.

COMPANIES PAY THE PRICE FOR EMPLOYEE SUBSTANCE ABUSE

When you picture a drug abuser, do you imagine someone in a suit carrying a briefcase? If not, then perhaps you should. Whether it be alcohol, marijuana or cocaine, employee substance abuse costs business an estimated $75-$100 billion every year in lost productivity, accidents, and higher healthcare and workers' compensation costs.

Consider these sobering facts: 73% of all illegal drug users are employed, and 10% of the American workforce consumes at least five glasses of alcohol by the end of the workday. However, the most obvious effects of employee substance abuse on a company's bottom line are absenteeism and lower productivity and employee morale.

Although 1997 findings were not available at press time, a 1994 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Washington, D.C., found that while substance abuse is more prevalent among younger workers and white males, it cuts across all lines--racial, gender and employment status. On a national level, the economic costs of alcohol and substance abuse rose to $276.3 billion in 1995, from $245.7 billion in 1992.

Whether it be on a personal, professional or national level, the cost of getting high is just--well--too high.

PERCENTAGE OF WORKERS, AGES 18-49 YEARS, REPORTING DRUG ALCOHOL USE
 CURRENT HEAVY
OCCUPATION ILLICIT ALCOHOL
CATEGORY DRUG USE USE(*)

CONSTRUCTION 15.6% 17.6%

EXECUTIVE, ADMINISTRATION 5.5 6.5
& MANAGERIAL

FOOD PREPARATION, 11.2 12.2
WAITSTAFF & BARTENDERS

HANDLERS, HELPERS & 10.6 15.7
LABORERS

MACHINE OPERATORS 10.5 13.5
& INSPECTORS

PROFESSIONAL SPECIALTY 5.1 4.3

SALES 11.4 8.3

TECHNICIANS & RELATED 5.5 6.2
SUPPORT


(*) Five or more drinks on five or more occasions in the previous 30 days

Source: National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA, Washington, D.C., 1994
THE EFFECTS OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE
ON WORKER PRODUCTIVITY

 ALCOHOL USE ILLICIT DRUG USE

WORKED FOR THREE OR MORE
EMPLOYERS IN THE PAST YEAR 27.1% 32.1%

VOLUNTARILY LEFT AN EMPLOYER
IN THE PAST YEAR 21.7% 25.8%

MISSED TWO OR MORE DAYS OF
WORK IN THE PAST MONTH DUE
TO ILLNESS OR INJURY 10.3% 11.6%

INVOLVED IN A WORKPLACE
ACCIDENT IN THE LAST YEAR 7.6% 7.5%


Source: An Analysis of Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and Programs, Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA, Washington, D.C., 1994
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Article Details
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Author:Williams-Harold, Bevolyn
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1U5DC
Date:Dec 1, 1998
Words:402
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