In an earlier installment on our website, we talked about ways to recognize and do something about coworkers that have problems with alcohol and drugs.  Here are some of the staggering facts:
In the United States:

  • One out of every 10 people has an alcohol problem;
  • There are more than 50 million binge drinkers;
  • There are 17 million illegal drug users;
  • Almost 15 million people  who abuse prescription drugs are out there;
  • Approximately 68% of illegal drug users are employed either full-time or part-time. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Between 10% and 20% of our nation’s workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs. (OSHA)

Do you know or work with someone who would be included in the above figures?  Persons who have a problem with drugs or alcohol are costly to employers, because of being less productive.  They are likely to hurt themselves or someone else.  They normally miss more work days, file more worker’s compensation claims, or damage equipment by making errors in judgment.

If you know someone who might have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you will hurt them more by ignoring their problem, doing their job, lending them money, or covering up for them.  Don’t enable them.  Most companies have Employee Assistance Programs, ensuring that their employees can get treatment without penalty.  If they have a serious addiction problem, they should be encouraged to get help.  After successful therapy, everyone wins in this situation: the employee, the company, and the coworkers!

There also should be policies against drug use in the workplace, with firm consequences for violations.  If appropriate, drug testing should be utilized.  If your company doesn’t have a program of this type, work with your security office or employee association to set up an anonymous hotline for reporting drug trafficking on the job.

OSHA works with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Partners for An Alcohol and Drug Free Workplace program to help employers ensure their health and safety plans are enhanced through workplace drug prevention.



  1. This is good information to know. I am going to look at some of the other links providied on this blog to help me know what behaviors to look for in drug abusers.

  2. I know of at least one co-worker who I know has a problem with drinking. I worry a lot about here. She’s actually been to re-hab and admits she has a problem. This year she seems better this year. Thank you for this information.

  3. There really are so many people out there who have a drinking problem or some sort of drug problem. Drinking is hard to get away from for alot of people.

  4. Alcohol abuse, people addicted to alcohol are so common because alcohol is la legal drug and often glamorized. It doesn’t have the same stigma as addiction to other drugs have and therefore people going in to this addiction will get help rather late.

  5. There are many safety issues when it comes down to drug abuse on the working place, a company must have strict policies and a management who are not afraid to deal with these problems, the management must be educated in order to deal with these kind of circumstances.

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