Drug Users Impact Quality and Productivity
Beyond higher absenteeism, accident rates, workers compensation, and turnover costs, one of the often forgotten impacts of companies employing a drug user is the effect they can have on quality and productivity. Beyond the immediate financial impact of reduced quality and productivity, there is also the long term risk of losing market share to a competitor’s company providing a better product or service. If that happens, the estimated $7,000 to $10,000 cost appears small in comparison.
Facts About the Number of Drug Users in the US
Marijuana is the most commonly used and abused illegal drug by employees, followed by cocaine, with prescription drug use steadily increasing.
The study, from the 2002, 2003, and 2004 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, uncovers an important finding for companies, showing that current drug users were more likely to work for employers that did not conduct workplace drug or alcohol testing programs.
Workers who report having three or more jobs in the previous five years are about twice as likely to be current or past year users of illegal drugs as those who have had two or fewer jobs. NCADD Fact Sheet: Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace.
According to statistics of businesses from the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses were most vulnerable and particularly disadvantaged by worker substance use and abuse. With about nine in ten full-time workers with alcohol or illicit drug dependence or abuse worked for small and medium-sized firms. 70% of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed.
Cost to Companies
Workplace drug and alcohol abuse may potentially cost U.S. businesses an estimated $100 billion each year. Here are some of the following areas where substance abusers are costing companies money.
Workers Compensation: 38 percent to 50 percent of all Workers Compensation claims are related to substance abuse in the workplace, as substance abusers file three to five times as many Workers Compensation claims.
Medical Costs: Substance abusers incur 300 percent higher medical costs than non-abusers.
Absenteeism: Substance abusers are 2.5 times more likely to be absent eight or more days a year.
Lost Productivity: Substance abusers are 1/3 less productive.
Employee Turnover: It costs a business an average of $7,000 to replace a salaried worker.
The bottom line is that the actual cost of the test itself is minimal compared to the cost of employing a drug user.