According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually.
Some 70% of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed, and workers who report having three or more jobs in the previous five years are about twice as likely to be current or past year users of illegal drugs as those who have had two or fewer jobs.
Citing changing societal attitudes toward marijuana, including its increasing use for medicinal purposes and new state-decriminalization laws, the two groups said the occupational health profession can play an important role in helping the U.S. workplace prepare for the potential impacts of these trends.
“Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana and two states have approved its recreational use by adults,” said The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses President Pam Carter, RN. “With growing advocacy, other states seem ready to follow. Mainly because of such rapid change, both of our associations believe it is time to address workplace health and safety concerns when workers have impaired functioning from this and other drugs.”
More about the problem of drug abuse in the workplace at EHS Today.