Substance abuse is a critical problem facing
the U.S. workplace sector as well as American society in general.

Relevant Statistics  |  Downloads

While not alone in its addiction to drugs and alcohol, the fact remains the America consumes 60% of the world’s illicit drugs , yet represents only 4.5% of the world’s population (DEA). Furthermore, drug abuse in the workplace, remains an unresolved problem, one that is “as bad or worse than ever” (IMPACT).

FACT #1 - 10% of full time workers aged 18-49 use illicit
drugs monthly.

FACT #2 - America consumes
60% of the world’s illicit drug population, yet represents only 4.5% of the world’s population.

Workplace drug abuse is associated with crime (workplace violence, inventory shrinkage, and fraudulent medical claims), increased accidents, lost time at work, as well as serious health problems, social dysfunction and premature death.

Within the last several years, the shift from traditional drugs-of-abuse such as marijuana, to even more problematic drugs such as meth (methanphetamine), as well as the abuse
of prescription drugs, especially painkillers (oxycodone ? Oxycontin®, Percocet®, hydrocodone ? Vicodin®, etc.) has created even more significant economic and safety issues in the workplace (DHHS, SAMHSA). The cost of drug abuse to U.S. employers exceeds $140B annually, with approximately 10% of full time workers aged 18-49 self reporting the monthly use of illicit drugs (U.S. Departmentment of Health and Human Service National Household Survey on Drug Abuse).

Dramatically increasing rates of substance abuse, associated with diverted prescription painkillers, and methamphetamine are reflected in increased treatment admissions, emergency room visits, drug related deaths and arrests (DAWN).
Traditional drug testing programs have been ineffective, and U.S. corporations must change the ?statu-quo? in order to be competitive.

FACT #3 - “Abuse of prescription painkillers has drastically increased… approximately 300%.” Drug Abuse Warning Network / DAWN 2003


• 77% of the approximately 20 million adults classified with dependence or abuse are employed, representing 10% of all U.S. workers (United Stated Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA, National Survey on Drug Use and Health , 2003)

• Nearly 25% of employed Americans between the ages of 18-35 have illegally used drugs in the past year (White House/ONDCP)

• 33% of employees know about illegal drug sales in their workplace (ONDCP)

• 50%+ of workplace accidents are related to substance abuse (NCCI)

• 50%+ (1.3 Million visits) of all ER visits are related to drug misuse/drug abuse (DAWN/SAMSHA)

• Absenteeism is 10x (40 days vs. 4 days) higher for drug abusers (DHHS/SAMHSA)

• 70% of all arrests involve drugs in some manner (DAWN)

• 47% of inventory shrikage is due to employee theft, with up to 80% related to drug abuse (NRF/Kroeger Study)

• 33% of all business failure are caused by employee theft (United States Departement of Commerce)

• 66% of negligent hiring trial cases result in jury awards averaging $600,000, with civil suits averaging $3M on behalf of the vicitm (Workplace Violence Research Institute)

• 90% of employees that test positive plead “not guilty” citing “lab messed up”, or the “MRO is against them”, etc. (Federal Transit Administration National Conference, 2006)

• Prescription painkillers have surpassed marijuana in popularity and usage in many parts of the country, and are not detected in typical urinalysis testing, such as SAMHSA or “NIDA-5” type tests. The next stage from illegal prescription painkiller use is typically heroin addiction. (DAWN / Drug Abuse Warning Network)

General Downloads (PDF)

Workplace Drugs of Abuse
Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us 
2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 
OxyContin® Facts 
How to help an employee >>
Stopping Substance Abuse in the Workplace >>
Additional items to consider relative to employee drug testing >>
National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA, 2006 
The Economic Cost of Drug Abuse in the United States - ONDCP - White House 2004 
Employers Favor Prescreening Methods 
Intoxicated Employees Equal Employer Liability 
Non-medical Use of Painrelivers 
Drug-Free Workplace and Workers Comp - Critical Concerns 
11.17.06 - Mass High Tech 
Coming Clean 
3,000% rise in workers who test positive for cocaine use 
Combating Workplace Drug Crimes 
Workplace Drug Testing is Effective 


Drug Abuse in the Workplace by Industry Sector:
General | Construction | Manufacturing | Hospitality/Lodging/Entertainment | Retail | Business Services | Education
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FAQ's: Frequently asked questions about workplace drug testing. >>

Case History: The Importance of Being Random. >>

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