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What Does Employee Alcohol & Drug Use Cost Your Business?

Alcohol & Your Bottom Line

More than 16 million Americans use illicit drugs, and 11 million are heavy drinkers. Contrary to the typical portrayal of drug and alcohol abusers, more than 75 percent are employed full-time, and nearly half work for small businesses.

No workplace is immune. If you are a small business owner, statistics show that one out of every ten of your workers is a heavy drinker or illicit drug user. Of these, one in six is both. Employers who think alcohol and other drug abuse will never be a problem should consider this: job applicants who can't pass a drug test tend to apply to companies that don't test.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Costs Your Business Revenue

Small to mid-size businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to drugs and alcohol in the workplace. Most small businesses have not implemented programs to combat employee drug or alcohol use and are therefore more likely to be the "employer of choice" for workers engaging in substance abuse on the job.

Although the vast majority of workers do not engage in harmful behavior on the job, the few who do will cost your business revenue. Employees who engage in heavy alcohol or illicit drug use are 33 percent less productive than their co-workers, and on average cost their employers $7,000 annually.1 In total, substance abuse costs America's employers more than $160 billion per year in accidents, lost productivity and related problems.2

Alcohol in particular is a major contributor to lost productivity in the workplace. Workers who are heavy off-the-job consumers of alcohol often impact the workplace through hang-overs, absenteeism, or arriving to work still under the influence. Employees may also be impacted by heavy drinkers in their immediate family, although they themselves may not be consuming alcohol on or off the job. Even these family substance abuse issues are affecting employers' bottom line. Wondering what alcohol use might be costing your business? Check out the Alcohol Cost Calculator
.

Employer Costs of Workplace
Substance Abuse

High Employee Turnover & Absenteeism
Workers who are heavy drinkers or illicit drug users are twice as likely as non-users to have been fired by an employer in the last year, changed employers more than three times in the last year, and missed two or more days of work in the past month.3
Industrial Fatalities & Workplace Accidents
Up to 40 percent of industrial fatalities can be linked to alcohol abuse and alcoholism.4 Drug-using employees are 3.6 times more likely to be invovled in workplace accidents and five times more likely to file a workers' compensation claim.5
Higher Workers' Compensation Costs
According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, nearly half of all workers' compensation claims are related to substance abuse. Is your business in one of the industries listed below? Click to learn more!

Higher Medical Costs
Substance abusers are three times more likely to use medical benefits than other employees.6
Workplace Theft & Violence
80 percent of drug abusers steal from their workplaces to support their drug use.8 Substance abuse is the third leading cause of workplace violence.9



             



Data Sources: (1) Hoffman-LaRoche Inc., Corporate Initiatives for a Drug Free Workplace, citing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1990 (2) National Survey on Drug Use & Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of Applied Studies, 1994, 1997 (3) Ibid. (4) Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace: Costs, Controls and Controversies, Bureau of National Affairs, 1986 (5) Baker, Thomas E., Ph.D., Strategic Planning for the Workplace Drug Abuse Programs, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1987 (6) Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace: Costs, Controls and Controversies, Bureau of National Affairs, 1980 (7) Reaves, James J., "Drug Crimes in the Workplace: A Survey of Drug Use and Its Effects On Crimes in the Workplace, and a Small Study of Workplace Drug Abusers Under Rehabilitative Care," Security Journal, Vol 5 No 1, January 1994 (8) "SHRM Survey Reveals Extent of Workplace Violence," based on 1994 survey by the Society of Human Resource Management, EAP Digest, March/April 1994.