According to an EHS Today article, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reported that substance abuse in 2014 cost companies $81 billion in lost productivity, turnover, negative workplace behavior, injury and liability and accidental deaths.
The National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance reports the following statistics:
- 40% of all industrial fatalities resulted from workplace drug abuse.
- Drug users were 3.6 times more likely than non-drug users to be involved in workplace accidents.
- Substance abusers filed claims with company health insurance three times more often than non-abusers.
- 80% of illegal drug abusers steal from their employers to support their habit.
- Substance abuse is the 3rd leading cause of workplace violence.
The NCADD also reports that 70% of individuals who use illegal drugs are employed. Individuals who have had at least three jobs in the past five years are twice as likely to be substance abusers than those with fewer job changes.
What are some indications that an employee is abusing alcohol or illegal drugs?
Indications of Possible Workplace Drug Problems
The EHS Today article mentions that according to NCADD, the following job performance and workplace behaviors may be signs that indicate possible workplace drug problems:
- Job performance.
- Inconsistent work quality.
- Poor concentration and lack of focus.
- Lowered productivity or erratic work patterns.
- Increased absenteeism
- Unexplained disappearances from the job site.
- Carelessness, mistakes or errors in judgment.
- Needless risk taking.
- Disregard for safety for self and others which can translate to on-the-job and off-the-job accidents.
- Extended lunch periods and early departures.
- Workplace behavior.
- Frequent financial problems.
- Avoidance of friends and colleagues.
- Blaming others for own problems and shortcomings.
- Complaints about problems at home.
- Deterioration in personal appearance or personal hygiene.
- Complaints, excuses and time off for vaguely defined illnesses or family problems.
We recommend to our clients that an employee suspected of being under the influence should always be confronted by TWO managers only after suspicious behavior has been documented.
A well-written and well enforced drug free workplace policy and program will probably reduce substance abuse and illicit drug use by 50% according to this Quest Diagnostics article.
If you have 100 employees and a drug free workplace program and policy, you may have about 9 employees who are substance abusers. If you have 100 employees and DO NOT have a drug free workplace program and policy you may have about 14 employees who are substance abusers.
Let’s assume one substance abuser costs you $7,000 That means simply that you are losing approximately $35,000 per year just for not having a drug free workplace program.
We have written before about the power of a random drug testing program. The costs of a random drug testing program are very manageable compared to the costs of a pre-employment drug testing program. And random drug testing yields a 50% higher positive rate, on average, than pre-employment drug testing.
THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION – A DRUG FREE WORKPLACE POLICY/PROGRAM CAN REDUCE SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY ALMOST 50%