Drug Use by American Workers at Highest Rate

January 16, 2019


By: Scott Weaver, National Director of Sales & Marketing – Occupational Health Services

A recent report by Quest Diagnostics indicated that illicit drug use by American workers is at its highest rate in more than a decade. According to Quest, the positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce was 4.2% in 2017, up significantly from 3.5% in 2012. Increases in amphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana use lead the way in this troubling statistic.

What does this mean for employers? While there is variability in the drug of choice and rates of abuse state by state, employers are facing increasing challenges in maintaining safe and healthy workplaces now 30 years after the launch of the 1988 Drug-Free Workplace Act.

With an estimated 70% of adults with substance dependence employed, the stakes are high for employers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those who use illegal drugs are more likely to change jobs frequently, be late or absent from work, be less productive, be involved in a workplace accident, and file a workers’ compensation claim.

Fortunately, resources for employers are available. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) has a Drug-Free Workplace Toolkit available on their website at https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/toolkit.

However, supporting a Drug-Free Workplace program also means having the right partner for drug and alcohol testing by your side. With over 200 locations nationwide, AFC Urgent Care provides consistent and reliable testing services. Find more at https://www.afcurgentcare.com/employer-resources/drug-testing/


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