Chemical Dependency


Substance dependence with in workplace has increased at an alarming rate over the course of the past several years. Outlined in the next few pages are results of substance abuse in industries that were surveyed to identify the prevalence of chemical use among workers.

Manufacturing

The Manufacturing industry consists primarily of small businesses which are particularly vulnerable to workers who use alcohol and other drugs. A recent government survey indicated that 71 percent of illegal drugs users are employed, 60 percent are with companies that employ 500 or fewer workers.

By specific industries, workers in the manufacturing of durable goods report current illegal drug use levels as follows:

Current heavy alcohol use is also within the same industries has been identified as follows:

Both the nondurable and durable goods manufacturing industries experience significant substance abuse. A Federal Government survey found that approximately 15 percent of workers in both nondurable and durable goods admit to illegal drug use sometime during the past 12 months. Seven percent of nondurable goods workers and 8 percent of workers in durable goods report heavy alcohol use.

Construction

Small businesses may be particularly vulnerable to problems of drug abuse among their employees because drug abusers will seek work at smaller firms where the likelihood of drug testing is slim.

The construction industry has one of the highest rates of substance abuse among full time workers ages 18 and 49.

The following reflects the rates of current illegal drug use in the construction industry:

The following reflects the rate of heavy alcohol use in the construction industry:

Nearly 12 percent of full-time construction workers report illicit drug use in the past 30 days.

Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is as diverse as any industry in the United States and are made up of professionals with college education's and entry level workers with and without high school diplomas. This industry includes hotel/motel companies, eating and drinking establishments as well as companies related to them. The industry has experienced high rates of substance abuse among all of its workers with more than 9 percent admitting to illegal drug use in the past 30 days and nearly 10 percent admit to heavy alcohol use.

The following reflects current levels of illegal drug use in the hospitality industry:

The following reflects current levels of heavy alcohol use in the in the hospitality industry:

Retail Industry

The retail industry is a "total exposure" employer, with a sales force that handles customers, products and cash. In the retail industry, approximately 11 percent of full-time employees admit to using illegal drugs within the past 30 days and nearly 20 percent indicate that they have used illegal drugs within the past one year. Almost 9 percent admit to heavy alcohol use in the past 30 days.

The following reflects current levels of illegal drug use in the retail industry:

The following reflects current levels of heavy alcohol use in the retail industry:

Signs of Employee Substance Abuse

  • Performance
  • Inconsistent quality work
  • Poor concentration
  • Lowered productivity
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Unexplained disappearances from the jobsite
  • Carelessness, mistakes
  • Errors in judgment
  • Needless risk taking
  • Disregard for safety
  • Extended lunch periods and early departures
  • Behavior
  • Frequent financial problems
  • Avoidance of friends and colleagues
  • Blaming others for own problems
  • Complaints about problems at home
  • Deterioration of personal appearance
  • Complaints and excuses of vaguely defined illnesses