The Price Tag of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Contributed by UKAT, 25 September, 2018

The Cost of Drug Abuse in the UK

Substance abuse costs businesses 100billion Euros annually (10% of annual payment). The cost of alcohol and drug abuse for the UK is 21billion Euros and 15billion Euros respectively. 70% of substance abusers are in full-time employment, and3% of the workforce (i.e. 3million workers) show up for work under the influence of substances yearly, causing the loss of about 7.3billion Euros in productivity and 17million Euros on missed work days linked to alcohol misuse alone.

75% of people who use illicit drugs are employed and make up 17% of the workforce.

The industries with the most problem drinkers (per 1000 workers) include: leisure and hospitality (109), business, installation, maintenance and repair (106), retail (114), wholesale (115),  construction and mining (135); and those with the highest rates of drug use include: food preparation and serving (17.4%), construction (15.1%), arts, design, entertainment, sports and media (12.4%), sales (9.6%), and installation, maintenance and repair (9.5%).

9 in 10 drug abusers work at small or medium-sized businesses. 1 in 10 small business owners report that employees have come in for work under the influence of a controlled substance, and 60% of adults are acquainted with someone who has gone to work under the influence.

The Impact of Alcohol Misuse and Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Addiction statistics show that 15% of workers are drunk at work occasionally, and that 60% of all poor performances and 40% of all industrial accidents are due to substance abuse.

Some of the impacts of alcoholism and drug dependence in the workplace include absenteeism and additional sick leave, lowered productivity, increased accident rate and injuries, and fatal accidents or premature death.

UK Workforce Drug Testing Data

2016 workforce drug testing data shows highest drug positivity in 12 years since 2004, driven by illicit drugs. Urine drug tests showed a 43% increase in positivity in the tested workforce between 2007-2011. 3.23% of employees were tested with drugs in their system. Reports show a 60% increase in the number of employees testing positive for marijuana, 44% for cocaine, and 66% for opiates. Individuals between the ages of 25-34 were most likely to test positive for class As.

Employees in organisations without a drug testing program have a 30-40% higher self-reported past month use.

Hangovers at the Workplace

83% of employees who have had a hangover at work admit that their way of working was affected, 33% admit to having shown up to work with a hangover, 22% (nearly 1 in 4) admit to making mistakes at work because of a hangover, and 24% of workers reported drinking during the workday at least once in the past year.

Studies show that 80% of all work-related problems come from social drinkers, and not people who are dependent on alcohol.

Most performance issues related to alcohol are due to workers drinking just before work or showing up to work with a hangover. Hangovers at the workplace increase the frequency of having problems with tasks and co-workers, sleeping on the job, and feeling sick at work and needing extra sick days.

Drinkers in the workplace are generally single rather than married, men more than women, managers more than their delegates, and younger rather than older.

Tags: small business | business | Work | employees | construction | retail | mining | food | tax |



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