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The Prevalence of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Substance abuse permeates every aspect of life for those suffering from addiction, and addictive behaviors don’t get put on hold during a 9-5 job. Employees engaging in substance abuse during work hours is a more common occurrence than most people think, regardless of random drug tests and the risk of discovery.

To look at trends in workplace substance abuse, our team conducted a survey to see how many people from a random sample have used illegal drugs or alcohol while at work. The results were intriguing and we’ve compiled the most interesting insights below.

Workplace substance abuse trends

According to our survey results, 22.5% of people admit to using drugs or alcohol during work hours. 1 in 4 men admit to using drugs or alcohol in their place of work, while 1 in 5 women say that they have used drugs or alcohol in a professional setting.

Percentage of use of recreational marijuana in the workplace

Over 1 in 5 respondents say that they have used marijuana recreationally in their place of work during work hours. In fact, nearly 5% of people admit to using marijuana recreationally on a daily basis and over 13% of people say that they use marijuana at work more than once a month.

Graph of what substances people use in the workplace

A whopping 66% of people admit that they have once used alcohol during work hours. Marijuana was the second most common substance to be used during work hours, with over 22% of respondents saying that they have used the drug recreationally at work. Over 10% of people admit to using Oxycontin or Vicodin outside of medical need at work. Codeine, Adderall, and Ritalin all had similar rates of use in the workplace, hovering at a little over 8%.

Type of workplace people tend to be drunk at

Those who work from home at least part of the time are more likely overall to abuse drugs or alcohol than those who work in offices. Overall, people who work from home part-time or full-time are about 10% more likely than people who work full-time in offices to get drunk at work.

Type of workplace people tend to be high at

People are far more likely to get high at work than to be drunk during work hours, according to our results. 40% of people who work from home full-time say that they have gotten high before and during work hours.

Percentage of Medical marijuana abuse during work hours

According to our results, people are most likely to stick to their prescribed amounts if they use medical marijuana. However, about 20% of people use more than prescribed during work hours, and of these respondents, people who work from home full-time are most likely to use more than prescribed.

Alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace

The prevalence of drug and alcohol use in the workplace is not limited to personal use. The knowledge that others around you are using illicit substances at work is a burden as well. Only 38% of our respondents said that no one they knew used drugs or alcohol at work. 1 in 5 people know that a few of their coworkers use drugs or alcohol at work, and 16% of people say that they know many coworkers who use illegal drugs or alcohol at work.

Percentage of workers prepared to beat a drug test

Random drug tests loom as a constant threat to people who use drugs in the workplace, but some people come prepared. 1 in 10 respondents says that they have purchased or taken a substance to help them beat a random drug test at some point. Of these people, men were almost twice as likely as women to have purchased or taken something to beat a drug test.

Substance abuse in the workplace is an ongoing problem, and those who struggle with this sign of addiction need help and support. Treatment can start anyone battling a substance use problem on the path to a healthier and happier life. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol misuse, please contact American Addiction Centers (AAC) free at . A trusted AAC representative can answer questions, offer advice, and help you locate addiction treatment centers.

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