Adult illicit drugs are in our society, in our workplace, in our families. Sounds like an obvious statement? But, it helps to see the actual numbers of users from a well-established study.
Why is this important for employers? With so many adult illicit drug users in the country, 26.6 million, you have to assume that some of these folks are in your workforce, operating your machinery and driving vehicles while in your employ. That is a problem.
It is a problem if they injure another co-worker or member of the public while under the influence. And you are doubly exposed if you do not have both a pre-employment and a random drug testing program in place to assure you do not have these people in these “safety sensitive” positions operating your equipment and your vehicles.
Imagine sitting in front of a plaintiff attorney who is alleging you don’t care enough about your co-workers and members of the public to have both a pre-employment and a random drug testing program.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released its 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). These reports are part of the First Finding Reports series for the 2016 NSDUH, an annual survey of the population of the United States ages 12 years or older. The main First Findings Report contains a cross-section of NSDUH data on substance use and substance use disorders, mental health issues among adults and adolescents, and co-occurring disorders. The other reports focus on specific topics, such as receipt of treatment among adults, substance use initiation, and risk and protective factors.
The NSDUH is an annual survey of the civilian, non-institutionalized population of the United States aged 12 or older. The survey is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The survey covers residents of households and individuals in non-institutional group quarters (e.g., shelters, boarding houses, college dormitories, migratory workers’ camps, halfway houses). The survey excludes people with no fixed address (e.g., homeless people not in shelters), military personnel on active duty, and residents of institutional group quarters, such as jails, nursing homes, mental institutions, and long‑term care hospitals.
26.6 million people over the age of 18 were an illicit drug user during the past month.
Some highlights from the PowerPoint presentation are as follows:
PAST YEAR, 2016, Ages 12+
- Heroin 0.4% 948,000
- Methamphetamines 0.5% 1.4 MILLION
- Inhalants 0.6% 1.7 MILLION
- Hallucinogens 1.8% 4.9 MILLION
- Cocaine 1.9% 5.1 Million
- Misuse of Psychotherapeutic Rx Drugs 6.9% 18.7 MILLION
- Marijuana 13.9% 37.6 MILLION
- Opioid’s Grip: Millions Continue to Misuse RX Pain Relievers
Rx Pain Reliever Misusers 11.5 MILLION Including:
- 9 MILLION Hydrocodone
- 9 MILLION Oxycodone
- 228,000 Rx Fentanyl
- Heroin Users 948,000