Addiction and substance use are much larger issues than many people believe them to be. In fact, two-thirds of those struggling with alcohol or illicit substance use are employed, according to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Substance abuse can be costly and dangerous for businesses and organizations, employees, and individuals struggling with addiction. According to Harvard, addiction costs American businesses and organizations $81 billion a year in lost profits on average. This is attributed to addiction leading to high turnover rates, theft, increased absences, productivity losses, work quality decreases, and sick time utilization. 

Furthermore, a report in the Journal of Alcohol Studies shows that substance use affects the general health and well-being of employees and increases the amount of job-related injuries and deaths. The report showed that breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in 16% of emergency visits for workplace injuries. Additionally, in 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 4,786 fatal work injuries, with 388 of these being unintentional overdoses from using non-medical drugs while at work. 

Alcohol and substance abuse can also impact the general culture, morale, and motivation of the workforce. This can be especially true if sober workers are seeing substance use and abuse get overlooked by management.

What is Substance Abuse?

Before we go any further, it is important to answer the question – what is substance abuse? After all, many people use substances for various purposes, whether it be relaxing after work, medications for health conditions, and more. However, a lot of substance use does not fall under abuse. 

Simply put, it becomes abuse when it becomes a pattern of use or compulsive use that leads to problems or consequences. These problems and consequences can begin to affect all spheres of an individual’s life, including personal relationships, work, schooling, and more. 

Recommending Employees for Substance Abuse Evaluation

It can be understandable for companies to want to remove those using drugs from the workforce immediately. However, offering help can be more effective in some cases. Recommending or offering substance abuse evaluations to employees could make them more likely to admit their problem or seek help. In fact, treatment facilitated by or within the workplace can increase employees’ social, mental, and legal functioning. It also helps to decrease conflict, productivity issues, and absenteeism upon returning from treatment.

There are many ways that a business can offer a better space for those struggling with addiction. Firstly, make it known that they can admit their issue to the proper authorities without fear of being fired on the spot. Instead, offer resources for a substance abuse evaluation or substance abuse counselor. If help is offered over punitive measures, employees will become more likely to admit their issues themselves. 

This may help to prevent the problem from being discovered after consequences like injuries or significant productivity loss. Companies can also implement more robust drug testing measures, such as after accidents/injuries or even random testing. Many businesses have drug testing policies for the hiring process but may not do it after that. 

Searching for Reliable Drug Testing for Employees?

If you are searching for accurate and reliable drug testing for your business, Soteria Screening Labs is here to help. 

We have a wide variety of tests that you can use to properly test employees for hiring or during employment, including urine, hair follicle, saliva, panel tests, DOT tests, and more. If you prefer off-site testing, we also have a network of collection facilities that you can use to find a local testing facility. 

For any questions, email us at, or you can call us at 202-679-6670.

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