GETTING HIGH ON THE JOB.
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