Costs of Drugs on the Job

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Costs of Drugs on the Job Safety Talk

Individuals who come to work under the influence of drugs and alcohol are a big concern for many employers across the world. In the United States, it is estimated over 60% of employers conduct pre-employment drug screens. The cost of these tests is anywhere from $20 to $60 per test. Since employers are willing to spend this amount of money on screening, they find that the benefits of testing outweigh the costs.

drugs in the workplaceDrug Abuse in the United States

A 2018 study published by the CDC found that an estimated 11.7% of Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug in the past month.  This number is estimated even higher today due to an increase in use of opioids and marijuana. Drug abuse leads to many problems both at home and at work. Depending on the drug, the individual, and the use it can cause many different problems at work in both the production and safety of that job site.

Problems Drug Abuse Causes in the Workplace

  1. Safety- Individuals under the influence of drugs are a danger to everyone at the worksite. Drugs impair an individual’s reasoning abilities and motor skills. Drugs can also negatively affect a person’s ability to make decisions. Some drugs influence a person to take more risks than they normally would if they were sober.
  2. Production- Individuals under the influence of drugs are almost always less efficient than when they are sober. Even if the drug is considered a stimulant, there are many side effects or other consequences due to using these drugs. There is more absenteeism by individuals who abuse drugs. Drug abuse often eventually leads to disruptive problems between employees on the job, which affects production.
  3. Costs- There are many costs of drug abuse in the workplace. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc., the cost of drug abuse is over $81 billion annually in the United States. When a company has to spend a significant amount of money randomly drug testing employees, dealing with the consequences of lost production, and investigating safety incidents, there is less money for the other areas of the business. Upgrades to equipment, better benefits, bonuses, and pay raises can all be negatively affected by drug abuse in the workplace.


Drug abuse in the workplace is an issue for everyone involved in the company. Not only is it a safety issue for those individuals around someone who is abusing drugs, but there are other consequences. When production is slowed down, and costs go up, less money is available for other areas of the business. Speak up to a supervisor if you see a coworker who may be having issues with drugs.

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