Business Case Studies

The Hidden Cost of Substance Abuse in Workplaces

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.