Why You Need a Drug Testing Policy

Illicit drug use has been a problem in this country for quite some time, and with the changing laws, chances are it will continue to grow. A recent study shows that some industries are at a greater risk for employees with substance abuse problems, and the rates just might surprise you – and show why drug testing is still an important part of keeping your workplace safe. The following are some of the highest rates of substance abuse among specific industries.


Even though alcohol is a legal substance provided the user is of age, drinking can still have a considerable impact on specific industries. A government study conducted on information gathered from 2008 to 2012 found that within the month prior to the study, 4.4 percent of social assistance and health care workers admitted to heavy drinking, while 17.5 percent of those working in mining admitted to the same. Construction workers were close behind with 16.5 percent saying they had drank heavily in the past month.

The workers most likely to report heavy alcohol use were those working full time, and age 18 to 64. The study also indicated that 8.7 percent of this age group among all industries reported heavy alcohol use or abuse.

Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs, which include cocaine/crack, marijuana/hashish, hallucinogens, inhalants, prescription drugs and heroin, were also included in the study. The industry with the highest number of drug users was the food services and accommodations industries, which reported 19.1 percent, with 16.9 percent reporting the highest rates of substance abuse in the past year as well. The closest industry to this rate was 13.7 percent, which was reported by the entertainment, recreation and arts industry.

These numbers show that there are some industries that have considerably higher numbers of employees who use drugs and alcohol. While the use of illicit drugs or alcohol are dangerous in any workplace, these industries need to take a proactive stance to combat these issues by instituting and maintaining strong drug testing policies. This will help ensure that other employees and customers or clients, as well as the business itself, are protected from the harm brought about by those working under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

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