The hidden cost of substance abuse in workplaces

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Government and businesses lose huge amounts of money yearly to substance abuse. According to statistics, drug and alcohol abuse costs the UK £15 and £21 billion respectively, every year. Businesses lose £100 billion annually to drug abuse which makes up about 10% of annual payroll.

According to tests conducted on the general UK workforce by https://www.ukat.co.uk/  and represented by this infographic:

  • The highest workforce drug positivity driven by illicit drug abuse occurred in 2016.
  • The tests showed a 43% increase in urine drug test positivity from 2007 – 2011 with 3.23% of tested employees in 2011 having drugs in their systems.
  • The tests further showed a 44% increase in employees that tested positive for cocaine, a 60% increase for marijuana, and a 66% increase for opiates.
  • Employees between ages 25 and 34 were found more likely to test positive for Class A drugs.
  • Studies show 3 million people go to work annually under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, 65% of drug users are currently employed and 15% are drunk at work at occasionally.
  • These have a huge impact on the general productivity of the workers, with 60% of poor performances at work linked to substance abuse and 40% of workplace accidents caused by substance abuse.
  • Effects of substance abuse in workplaces include reduced productivity, accidents that can be fatal, absenteeism or extra sick leave.
  • Facts show that 70% of substance abusers are in full-time employment, 15% of workers are drunk at work at least occasionally, and 9 out of 10 drug abusers work at small or medium businesses.
  • 75% of illicit drug users are currently unemployed which is about 17% of the UK workforce.
  • 60% of adults know an employee who has gone to work under the influence of alcohol or an illicit drug.
  • 1 in 10 small business owners have had employees come to work under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • The highest rate of drug abuse can be found in fields such as food preparation and serving, construction, arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, sales, and installation/maintenance and repair.
  • Fields with the most problem drinkers include construction and mining, wholesale, retail, leisure and hospitality, and installation/maintenance and repair.