U.S. Employees Using Drugs Costing Businesses $200 Billion
15.4 million American workers are using illicit drugs, (2) and this is costing the workforce $193 billion annually - $120.3 billion lost is productivity, $11.4 billion is healthcare costs and $61.4 billion in criminal justice costs. (3)
The findings show that 3.7 percent of the U.S. workforce tested positive for drugs in urine sampling tests, with marijuana, oxycodones, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and opiates rounding out the top five drugsused. (2)
These ‘extracurricular’ activities presents a serious problem when workers are on the clock. Drug-abusing employees:
- Are 3x more likely to be late
- Are 2.5x more likely to be absent for eight or more days
- Use 3x the normal level of sick benefits
- Are 5x more likely to file worker’s compensation claims
- Are 3.6x more likely to be involved in accidents (4)
The financial toll is on individual workers as well, with the average monthly drug expenditure for heroin amounting to $17,484, substantially cutting into a worker’s income. (5) Employees need to recognize what their addictions are costing them, says Will Wesch, Director of Admissions for Novus Medical Detox Center.
“They’re not only jeopardizing their health and potentially their employment, but they’re wasting thousands of dollars they could spent bettering their lives, investing in their children, or saving for their future,” Wesch asserts.
He stresses that while workplace drug testing is one way employers can address substance abuse, support programs and detox centers play equally important roles. Wesch maintains that a substance abuse treatment program with a variety of pathways can help workers overcome addiction.
Due to the fact that an abrupt discontinuation of prescription drugs is highly discouraged and dangerous, employers must seek out a program for employees that is medically-supervised with integrated medicine to allow the detox process to be as comfortable as possible for maximum results.
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- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results From the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings; September 2014.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.pdf
- Quest Diagnostics. “Workforce Drug Test Positivity Rate Increases for the First Time in 10 Years, Driven by Marijuana and Amphetamines, Finds Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index Analysis of Employment Drug Tests”; Quest Diagnostics press release; September 11, 2014.questdiagnostics.com/home/physicians/health-trends/drug-testing
- National Drug Intelligence Center. National Drug Threat Assessment: 2011; August 2011.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs44/44849/44849p.pdf
- Backer, Thomas E. Strategic Planning for Workplace Drug Abuse Programs; National Institute on DrugAbuse; Rockville, MD: 1987. ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/111656NCJRS.pdf
- Office of National Drug Control Policy. What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs: 2000-2010; February 2014. whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/policy-and-research/wausid_results_report.pdf
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