Last updated: October 19, 2020
Overall, substance abuse and drug addiction is on the rise and affecting all industries. Some industries, however, are impacted more often and in higher intensity. Industries with the most stressful jobs, as one would expect, are often the most vulnerable, but substance abuse is not limited to stressful industries. Unfortunately, many of the industries most affected by this are some of the biggest industries in Atlanta, Georgia.
Why people succumb to substance abuse is a very complicated issue and stress is only one of several hard-to-quantify factors involved. Financial means, family history, accessibility to drugs, level/quality of law enforcement in the area, genetic predisposition, proclivity to hang out with the wrong crowd—all these variables can play a role.
Although the list of things that people may try to get a “buzz” from can be rather long, the following are some of the most common substances abused in the workplace:
- Cocaine & crack
- Opiate painkillers
- Stimulants and sedatives
- Prescription drugs for non-medical purposes
Firstly, employers suffer tremendous financial losses because of workplace accidents and injuries, lost productivity, high absenteeism, increased instances of serious illness and low morale that can be traced to drug and alcohol abuse.
Substance abuse by industry
Alcohol abuse by employees 18-64 years of age:
- Accommodations and Food Services—11.8%
- Entertainment, Arts and Recreation—11.5%
- Wholesale Trade—10.2%
- Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry & Hunting—9.4%
- Retail Trade—9.0%
- Transportation & Warehousing—8.8%
- Real Estate, Rental & Leasing—8.5%
- Professional, Scientific & Technical Services—7.7%
- Finance & Insurance—7.4%
- Public Administration—6.6%
- Educational Services—4.7%
- Healthcare & Social Assistance—4.4%
Drug abuse by employees 18-64 years of age:
- Accommodations & Food Services—19.1%
- Entertainment, Arts & Recreation—13.7%
- Real Estate, Rental & Leasing—10.9%
- Retail trade—10.3%
- Professional, Scientific & Technical Services—9.0%
- Wholesale Trade—7.8%
- Finance & Insurance—6.5%
- Transportation & Warehousing—5.9%
- Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry & Hunting—5.7%
- Healthcare & Social Assistance—5.5%
- Educational Services—4.8%
- Public Administration—4.3%
Substance abuse disorders among employees 18-64 years of age:
- Accommodations & Food Services—16.9
- Entertainment, Arts & Recreation—12.9
- Retail Trade—10.5
- Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry & Hunting—10.5
Although these statistics show that substance abuse is a significant problem in society, they also show that it’s more severe in some industries than in others.
Because this costs so much in terms of lost productivity, increased liability, medical expenses, etc., it’s in everyone’s best interest to combat this problem using every available tool at our disposable, including more stringent background checks, stiffer penalties for drug crimes, comprehensive drug testing for all workers (especially for jobs where people’s lives are at stake), and substance abuse health education.
Of all the tools available to reduce drug abuse, comprehensive random drug testing is one of the most powerful, and when coupled with post-accident drug testing, employers can mitigate the legal liabilities presented by drug use in the workplace, which can be catastrophic to an organization. Fortunately, drug testing is affordable, easy, and an effective way to improve workplace safety and productivity.