How Prevalent is Drug Use in the Workplace?

Substance abuse in the workplace is not a new development and has been around for decades. However, with the increase in drug availability, and shocking statistics being released each year, employers are starting to notice that drug use is a real problem. They are also beginning to ask themselves, “How prevalent is drug use in the workplace?” The statistics may surprise you, and the cost to a business can be monumental.

What Are The Numbers?

In 2010, the United States Department of Justice released a National Drug Assessment document that outlined shocking statistics about the use of drugs among workers.

  • 10% of part-time employees and 8% of full-time employees abuse illegal drugs. This does not include prescription drug abuse and is only calculated based on positive drug tests. The real numbers are likely much higher.
  • 77% of illegal drug users in the United States hold full-time or part-time jobs.
  • 60% of adults know someone who goes to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • 32% of employees in the United States said that co-workers drug or alcohol abuse directly affected their own job performance. Drug use does not only affect the performance of the employee abusing the drug but all of the co-workers who work closely with that employee.
  • Food service, construction, and durable goods industries experience much higher rates of drug abuse than other industries. Since 2006, employees have begun to abuse prescription medication more than illegal drugs.