Drug-Free Workplace Programs: Workplace Substance Abuse


Why do employers think the Drug-Free Workplace makes good business sense?

Most Drug Users Are Employed, Mainly By Small Businesses

  • Nearly 14 million Americans currently use illegal drugs.
  • Almost 75 percent of these users are employed. Over half of these employees work for small companies.
  • 11 percent of workers in companies with fewer than 25 employees are current users.
  • More than 60 percent of adults know people who have gone to work under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
  • Emory University's School of Medicine estimates that 7.7 percent of Georgians 18 and older, or about 454,000 adults, need treatment for alcoholism and other drug addiction problems. So do about 17,000 Georgia adolescents.

The Costs of Workplace Substance Abuse Are High

  • 38 to 50 percent of workers' compensation claims are related to substance abuse.
  • Substance abusers incur 300 percent higher medical costs.
  • Drug-using employees are:
    • 2.5 times more likely to have absences of 8 days or more
    • Three times more likely to be late for work
    • 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident
    • Five times more likely to file a workers' compensation claim


  • Drug users are more likely to work for companies without substance abuse policies and programs.

    From studies cited by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.