More than 70 percent of substance abusers are employed, according to the American Council For Drug Education. In fact, one out of three workers is aware of drug sales conducted at work. It’s all too easy to ignore the statistics and assume that the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace are happening somewhere else. However, Americans consume 60 percent of the world’s illicit drugs. In the workplace, substance abuser problems become your problems.
Safety is the chief concern for responsible companies. It’s easy to see how people operating machinery under the influence of alcohol or drugs could cause problems. Substance abusers are about three and a half times more likely to be involved in accidents on the job and five times more likely to hurt themselves at work, the American Council For Drug Education reports. They are also five times more likely to file for worker’s comp. Worse yet, these substance abusers also are responsible for 40 percent of all industrial fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 10 to 20 percent of the nation’s workers who die at work also test positive for drugs or alcohol.
Not only will your work force be operating less efficiently, but you will need to account for the cost of firing and hiring employees and all the days employees call in for problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse. The American Council For Drug Education says substance abusers are 10 times more likely to miss work and are 33 percent less productive even when they are at work. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that drug abusers cost American businesses $128.6 in lost productivity in 2002. The cost of replacing an employee can cost anywhere from 25 to 200 percent of their annual compensation.
Employee substance abuse results in higher health care expenditures for illnesses and injuries, driving up your premiums. Studies show that drug abusers use up twice as many medical benefits as their coworkers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The American Council For Drug Education adds that substance abusers are directly responsible for health care costs that are three times higher than the national average.