Last updated: November 27, 2023
Substance abuse doesn’t affect just individuals, it also affects communities and the industries that serve them. Some industries are more susceptible to drug abuse because of the high stress demands, lack of drug testing in the workplace, drug legalization in some states, and many other factors. Read on to find out about some of the industries that have some of the highest rates of substance abuse.
The second highest rate of drug abuse happens in the construction industry, at 16.5%, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Substance abuse is taking a major toll on the construction industry, which requires close attention to safety due to the severe risks in workplace.
Drug and alcohol abuse can impair judgement, reflexes, and coordination in construction workers, leading to a very large number of fatalities and injuries on the job. Drugs also lead to increased absenteeism, which often goes hand in hand with a lack of suitable replacements. In response to this, many construction companies today conduct both pre-employment and random drug testing. That’s understandable, because according to research by Cornell University, companies that implemented workplace drug testing typically experience a 51% reduction in workplace injuries.
Unfortunately, many people employed in the hospitality industry turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the unpleasant working conditions and other life stressors. There are a number of reasons why the restaurant industry is particularly prone to substance abuse, but because of the high turnover, most restaurants do not require drug screening before hiring employees. Restaurant employees spend long, often late hours working together, so it’s not uncommon for one employee who is abusing drugs to influence others to try drugs.
Drugs can quickly become a part of the culture and a non-productive way to cope with the demanding work environment. Many employees in this industry, many of whom are working for the first time, find it hard to be constantly on their feet with short, or sometimes even no breaks when other employees fail to show up. Some restaurant managers try to compensate by offering free alcohol to their workers during break time or after their shift is over. All of these conditions can lead even the most sober of workers down the path of substance abuse.
Safety on the job in the mining industry affects not just one person, but a the entire team, yet mining has one of the highest rates of alcohol abuse of any industry. Attention to detail is extremely important here because of the heavy equipment, high temperatures, and hazardous underground working conditions. Much of the alcohol consumption occurs when workers are off-duty and above ground, but the effects persist long afterwards.
There are a variety of factors that might lead a miner down the path of alcohol abuse. High stress, loneliness, physical pain, long working hours, and lack of sleep could all play a part, but none are good reasons. To combat this dangerous behavior, many employers in the mining industry have implemented comprehensive drug and alcohol testing to help not just their company, but also their employees, keeping everyone safer.
For most people, doctors and nurses would be the last group that anyone would suspect of abusing drugs. After all, they are the ones who prescribe and supply legal medicine to patients, and they are extensively educated on the risks associated with drug abuse.
Yet high stress, long work hours, and easy access to prescription drugs can lead as many as 10% of medical professionals to abuse prescription medications. Psychiatrists and emergency room doctors tend to use the most drugs whereas surgeons tend to abuse drugs the least. This can have a big impact on the medical industry, leading to errors in diagnosis, prescriptions, and treatment. As a result, all major hospitals and most most smaller hospitals and doctors offices today conduct pre-employment and random drug testing.