November 18th, 2014 | Sterling

Are We Winning The War On Drugs?

Are We Winning The War On Drugs? | SterlingBackcheck

The term “War On Drugs” is one commonly associated today with the federal government’s efforts (more than $51 billion annually) to rid American society of drug abuse and to combat illegal drug trafficking.

Well, according to Employers.com in an article published earlier this year, 1 in 10 small businesses claim that employees are beginning their work day under the influence (with alcohol, marijuana, and prescription painkillers leading the way). The rise in prescription painkiller use over the past several years and the ongoing decriminalization of marijuana are believed to be fueling this trend.

In another recently published article from Mashable.com, nearly 1 in 10 American workers are smoking marijuana just before starting work, with nearly 81% admitting to having obtained their marijuana illegally. Nearly 1 in 14 also admit to beginning their work day after recreationally using prescribed medication rather than for a medical purpose authorized by the doctor’s prescription.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is a leading national source of statistical and trend information on drug and alcohol use among Americans aged 12 and older. Results from the 2013 National Survey identify that, of 22.4 million adults who use illicit drugs, 68.9% are employed and, among the 58.5 million adults who are binge or heavy alcohol users, 76.1% are employed.

It’s important to note that, though many mid and large-sized American businesses have a drug-free workplace testing policy in place for their job applicants and workers, smaller employers are less likely to have such a policy. On page 69 of a government report prepared by the Office of Applied Studies of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, smaller employers appear to possibly be providing a “safe haven for workers attempting to avoid drug testing”.

So, the war on drugs is, obviously, far from over, and there’s plenty of reason to expect that the current situation may even worsen. Drug abuse and alcohol misuse continue to be very real safety concerns for American employers, as well as for American society at large.

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