Hiring Obstacles: Drug Abuse a Problem for Workforce

Share Article

Drug abuse in the workplace has become so rampant of a problem that many employers are now considering relaxing drug testing standards in order to hire or keep qualified staff.

News Image

The Kentucky State Department of Workforce Investment Commissioner Beth Kuhn recently reported that while many potential workers are qualified for the position they are applying for, they are unable to pass the initial drug test and therefore unable to find work. Because of this, many employers are considering altering drug testing policies in order to be able to hire long-term, skilled talent. (1) Will Wesch, Director of Admissions for Novus Medical Detox Center, warns against relaxing standards as a solution to the problem of drug abuse rather than addressing the root of the problem – the drug abuse itself. It is estimated that the workforce loses $193 billion annually due to illicit drug use. $120.3 billion of this figure is due to lost productivity, $11.4 billion is due to healthcare costs, and $61.4 is due to criminal justice costs. (2)

Illicit drugs are used by 15.4 million Americans in the workforce. (2) A recent study
of illicit drug use in the nation's workforce found that drug abuse was most common in the food preparation and service industry, with 18.6% of workers in that industry abusing drugs, with stimulants being the drug that's used most. Construction workers were the second most likely to abuse drugs, with 17.4% of workers in that industry abusing drugs. (3) 14% of arts and entertainment workers were likely to abuse drugs. (4)

“Employees who abuse drugs will sometimes do so to help facilitate their work,” notes Wesch. “Once the high begins to wear off, they will take another dose so their production will not drop. They become dependent on it.” Wesch cites the use of stimulants in the food preparation and service industry as a notable example of this cycle.

Additionally, drug abuse creates an unstable workforce. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) found that workers who reported holding three or more jobs in the previous five years were twice as likely to be illegal drug users than employees who have held two or fewer jobs in the previous five years. (5)

Per Novus, it is alarming that employers feel they need to get rid of or alter drug testing policies just to be able to hire skilled staff. Especially since drug abuse in the workplace has so many ramifications; it can lead to the loss of productivity, the loss of financial income, and even the loss of a life. Novus contends that employers must realize that there is no need to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater' when it comes to drug abuse in the workplace, especially since effective solutions to get employees safely off of drugs exist.

Wesch urges employers to take a proactive stance in combating substance abuse in the workplace. “Random drug testing may help deter personnel form abusing prescription medications,” says Wesch. “It is important to protect the health and productivity of your workforce.”

Wesch advises companies to provide access to an Employee Assistant Program (EAP) in order to assist those employees who need help with substance abuse. EAPs are employee benefit programs offered by many employers and are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that may have negative impact on their job performance, health and well-being.

“The EAPs should be aware of this problem and fully understand the issue they are dealing with and be able to refer employees to the right programs for help,” says Wesch. The availability of confidential EAP services and referrals to qualified detox or drug rehab programs can encourage employees to seek substance abuse treatment without fear of reprisals.

Novus Medical Detox Center has helped many workers get their lives and careers back without the use of stimulants and other substances. Novus Detox specializes in creating a personalized treatment regimen for each patient in order to reduce the risks attached to drug withdrawal. Many patients are able to complete their detox program in less than two weeks, at which time they may be referred to an individualized aftercare program, if warranted.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center is a Joint Commission Accredited inpatient medical detox facility that offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is also licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families and is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient. By incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment, Novus tailors the detox process for each patient, putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television and high-speed Internet access. Novus’ expansion is tied to their contribution to their industry and their local community, ranking number 48 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2014 Fast 50 Awards list of the fastest-growing companies in Tampa Bay, and number 2,936 on the 2014 Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America. For more information, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

(1) “Drug Abuse a Problem for Kentucky Workforce, Lawmakers Told”; Floyd County Times; August 27, 2015. floydcountytimes.com/news/1299/drug-abuse-a-problem-for-kentucky-workforce-lawmakers-told

(2) Castrejon, Rebecca. “U.S. Employees Using Drugs Costing Businesses $200 Billion”; Healthcare Global; March 28, 2015. healthcareglobal.com/financeinsurance/1871/US-Employees-Using-Drugs-Costing-Businesses-200-Billion

(3) Fricke, Peter. “Study: Drug Abuse Startlingly Common In Food Service, Construction”; The Daily Caller; June 17, 2015. dailycaller.com/2015/06/17/study-drug-abuse-startlingly-common-in-food-service-construction/#ixzz3g4Rcocd0

(4) Ingraham, Christopher. “Which jobs make you more likely to do drugs, drink?”; Redeye Chicago; May 26, 2015. redeyechicago.com/news/redeye-which-jobs-likely-to-drink-20150526-story.html

(5) “Drugs and the Workplace”; National Council on Alchoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. ncadd.org/learn-about-drugs/workplace

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Karla Jo Helms
+1 (888) 202-4614 Ext: 802
Email >
Visit website