Celebrated the third week of October (October 16-21, 2017), it is one of 52 weeks of the year when workplaces should be drug-free!

According to the National Drug Free Workplace Alliance:

National Drug-Free Work Week was initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor as a cooperative agreement focused on improving safety and health in the construction industry through drug-free workplace programs. 

Of course, a drug-free workplace is not a one-week event. Nor is it limited to the construction industry. It’s a commitment most employers make to employee health, safety, productivity and culture.

As the end of the year approaches, this is a good time for employers to:

  • Review written drug policies to confirm they are up to date with recent changes in state and federal laws.
  • Review testing policies to address things like medical and recreational marijuana and prescription drug abuse.
  • Review your drug testing provider. Are you getting the quality service you deserve?

Substance Abuse in the Workplace Facts

Replacing an employee costs from 25 percent to almost 200 percent of annual compensation— not including the loss of institutional knowledge, service continuity, and coworker productivity and morale that can accompany employee turnover.

Substance abuse by employees results in:

  • Higher health care expenses for injuries and illnesses;
  • Higher rates of absenteeism;
  • Reductions in job productivity and performance;
  • More workers’ compensation and disability claims; and
  • Safety and other risks for employers.

– Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Employees with substance abuse issues often:

  • Fail to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home.
  • Use substances in situations where it is physically hazardous (e.g. driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use).
  • Have recurrent substance-related legal or financial problems.
  • Continue to use substances despite persistent social or interpersonal problems that are a result of the substance use.

 – American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th edition). 

Substance use and abuse is a concern for employers. Most drug users, binge drinkers, and people with substance use disorders are employed.

  • Of the 19.9 million current illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2011, 13.1 million (65.7 percent) were employed either full or part time.
  • About half of the adults aged 18 or older with substance dependence or abuse were employed full time in 2011.
  • Of the 18.9 million adults classified with dependence or abuse, 9.8 million (51.8 percent) were employed full time.

– 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

Substance use and abuse is not necessarily limited to after work hours, leading to the risk of impairment on the job.

  • An estimated 3.1 percent of employed adults actually used illicit drugs before reporting to work or during work hours at least once in the past year, with about 2.9 percent working while under the influence of an illicit drug.
  • An estimated 1.8 percent of employed adults consumed alcohol before coming to work, and 7.1 percent drank alcohol during the workday.

– Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Studies on Alcohol

National Drug Free Workplace Week is a great time to take stock. Let us know how we can help.

InOut Labs is a national provider of employee drug testing services. Serving DOT-regulated and non-regulated companies nationwide, InOut Labs provides exceptional customer service and fast results.

And all results are medically reviewed.