Alcohol Is Still the Number One Threat to Workplace Safety

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Alcohol Is Still the Number One Threat to Workplace Safety
Alcohol remains the most common substance abused by workers.

Occupational Health & Safety
By Bill Current
October 3, 2022

The legalization of marijuana and its direct impact on the workplace garners a lot of attention, and rightfully so. According to the 2022 Quest Diagnostic Drug Testing Index, more workers are testing positive for marijuana than ever before.

“Positivity rates for marijuana in the general U.S. workforce, based on more than 6 million urine tests, continued an upward climb, increasing 8.3 percent (3.6 percent in 2020 versus 3.9 percent in 2021), the highest positivity rate ever reported in the DTI. Over five years, positivity for marijuana in the general U.S. workforce increased 50 percent (2.6 percent in 2017 versus 3.9 percent in 2021).”

Yet, according to the federal government, there are many more alcohol users and abusers in the U.S. than marijuana users. The 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that nearly 60 million Americans 12 and older admit to using illicit drugs and that more than 138 million people admit to being current alcohol users.

According to the survey, of those 138 million alcohol users, 61.6 million admit to being “binge” drinkers (five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past month) and 17.7 million being “heavy” drinkers (five or more drinks on at least five occasions in the past month). Alcohol is clearly the single most used and abused drug in America making it the number one threat to workplace safety.