Occupational Impact of Drug Abuse and Addiction
It may be surprising to learn that the majority of alcohol and drug-using individuals are gainfully employed full- or part-time. This equates to millions in the workforce whose substance use may create work-related problems and consequences. Studies have demonstrated the negative impact of substance use on worker productivity, safety, and functioning that result in substantial economic and societal costs. Strategies to address substance use among employees include workplace education and awareness campaigns, drug testing, Employee Assistance Programs, and other intervention efforts. Despite the popularity of such services, there is a relative lack of experimental study of their impact. Nonetheless, recent studies have begun to document the benefit of workplace programs on worker productivity and safety. Future study is needed to experimentally test workplace interventions, document cost–benefit ratios, and replicate findings across work sites. Additional work is necessary to address barriers faced by human resource professionals when identifying and addressing substance use problems among the workforce.
KeywordsIllicit Drug Drug Testing Workplace Intervention National Household Survey Human Resource Professional
- 1.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: national findings (NSDUH Series H-34, DHHS Publication No. SMA 08-4343). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies; 2008.Google Scholar
- 3.Larson SL, Eyerman J, Foster MS, Gfroerer JC. Worker substance use and workplace policies and programs (DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4273, Analytic Series A-29). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. 2007. Available online http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/work2k7/work.pdf.
- 5.Office of National Drug Control Policy. The economic costs of drug abuse in the United States, 1992–2002. Washington, DC: Executive Office of the President (Publication No. 207303). 2004. Available online http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/economic_costs/.
- 6.Harwood H. Updating estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse in the United States: estimates, update methods, and data. Report prepared for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Rockville, MD: National Institutes of Health. 2000. Available online http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/economic-2000/alcoholcost.PDF.
- 9.Greenberg M, Hamilton R, Toscano G. Analysis of toxicology reports from the 1993-94 census of fatal occupational injuries. Compensation and Working Conditions, pp. 26–28. 1999. Available online: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfar0032.pdf.
- 10.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Division of Workplace Programs. [Retrieved November, 2008] Making your workplace drug-free: a kit for employers. Available online http://www.workplace.samhsa.gov/WPWorkit/index.html.
- 11.U.S. Department of Labor. Working partners for an alcohol and drug-free workplace. 2008. Available online http://www.dol.gov/workingpartners/welcome.html.
- 12.Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems. Workplace screening & brief intervention: what employers can and should do about excessive alcohol use. Washington, DC: Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems. 2008. Available online http://www.ensuringsolutions.org/usr_doc/Workplace_SBI_Report_Final.pdf.
- 13.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. NREPP: SAMHSA’s national registry of evidence-based programs and practices. 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008. Available online http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/index.asp.
- 14.Bennett JB, Reynolds S, Lehman WEK. Understanding employee alcohol and other drug use: toward a multilevel approach. In: Bennett JB, Lehman WEK, editors. Preventing workplace substance abuse: beyond drug testing to wellness. Washington: American Psychological Association; 2003. p. 29–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 15.French MT, Roebuck MC, Alexandre PK. To test or no to test: do workplace drug testing programs discourage employee drug use? Soc Sci Res. 2004;33(45–63).Google Scholar
- 30.Hazelden Foundation. Substance abuse and addiction among most serious workplace issues. 2007. Available http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/2007workplacesurvey.page.