Employee Substance Abuse Raises Costs for Your Business

Injuries on the job (and the resulting workers’ compensation claims), high absenteeism and tardiness, and low employee morale are costs associated with workplace substance abuse that are well known for draining corporate profits. However, there are many other hidden and indirect costs associated with substance abuse, that aren’t understood nearly as well, and these can exact a far higher price.As an employer, you’re very likely to encounter several employees with substance abuse problems. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 77 percent of illicit drug users in the United States are employed– that’s 9.4 million individuals. So some of them are likely to be in your area.


Substance abuse hinders workers both physically and mentally. Its influence on the workplace comprises reduced output, lower quality of work, increased errors, and reduced customer satisfaction. The after effects of substance use, such as withdrawal and hangovers, lower alertness, reflexes, and accuracy, resulting in a decrease in the quality of the work produced. A fixation with locating and using substances also obstructs attention and concentration, exacting a tremendous productivity hit– one that costs businesses in the US $78 billion in aggregate every year, according to the Partnership for a Drug-free America.

Apart from impairing their skills to perform on the job and decision-making ability, employees who abuse other drugs and alcohol bring a whole host of extraneous problems with them to their workplace. Matters such as high absenteeism, increased turnover, potential accidents in the workplace and more, come to the desks of Human Resources personnel and supervisors who have to change their focus to address these problems.

Substance abusers usually have high job turnover rates, and this creates a “revolving door” of employees which drains profits. As said by a study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, among full-time workers who reported current illicit drug use, 12.3% said they had worked for three or more employers in the last year, compared with 5.1% of non-substance abusing workers. High personnel turnover results in higher costs accumulated to hire and train new employees.

It has also been proven that substance abusers have a higher rate of loss, damage, or theft to company equipment and property, and are therefore more likely to injure themselves or others while working. Employers are also subject to increased liability with substance abusers working at offsite locations or in transit.

Furthermore, employees who abuse alcohol or drugs tend to cost their employers on average about twice as much in medical claims as employees who do not abuse drugs. Substance abusers have a higher rate of illness and increased medical costs considering that substance abuse depresses the immune system.

Drug-free workplace programs serve to help guard employees and employers alike from the high costs and devastating consequences of substance abuse. Developing effective policies, preventing and identifying substance use and abuse, and urging employees to pursue help for substance abuse problems are smart business strategies. Some states even offer Worker’s Compensation discounts to companies that maintain certified drug-free workplace programs. If you do not already have an employee drug testing policy, consider working with a drug testing provider such as Dr. Givens to help meet your company’s needs. Email or Call Dr. Givens today!

Dr. Michael Givens DC, CME
Drug & Alcohol On-Site Testing
This works best for multiple employee testing and reduces time spent off the job, liability in sending personnel off-site, and is convenient for employer and employees.  Call today to discuss the benefits of on-site testing and scheduling.

Our Services include:  DOT and Non-DOT Testing, Social & Family, Judicial (Court Ordered), Random Drug Testing, Post Accident Testing, Pre-Employment Functional Testing, Reasonable Suspicion, On-Site Employee Testing, Paternity Testing

2917 Independence | Ste 400 | Cape Girardeau MO | 63703|573-651-8686

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