Alcohol is the Leading Substance of Abuse in the Workplace

10/19/2022 11:14 AM By Kayla Florence

Alcohol is the most used and abused drug in the United States of America. 1 in every 13 adults abuse alcohol or are alcoholic (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). Millions of other adults are walking a fine line by engaging in drinking patterns that can lead to problems. Though the legalization of marijuana both medicinally and recreationally has directly affected drug testing in the workplace, statistics illustrate more alcohol users than marijuana users in the United States.


Bill Current, the president and founder of Current Consulting Group reveals in an article, “Alcohol is Still the #1 Substance of Abuse in the Workplace”, that many employees with drinking problems in America find a way to consume alcohol on the clock. A survey conducted by American Addiction Center exposes that 66% of people admitted to having at least one experience using alcohol during work hours.


Studies show that the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the issue of substance abuse in the workplace. Safety is a concern, as the likelihood of injuries increases when alcohol abuse occurs in the workplace. One year into the pandemic an annual report illustrated an alarming increase in alcohol and other substance use affecting 49% of workers in America.


Signs of alcohol abuse at work may include:

·  Poor decision making

·  Lack of coordination

·  Sleeping on the clock

·  Confrontational behavior with supervisors or coworkers

·  Unintentional injuries to themselves or others

·  Excessive tardiness/No-call-no-show

·  Inability to complete work tasks


Because alcohol abuse in the workplace directly affects the function of a company, employers have a right and an obligation to take measures to address the issue. This may look like screening employees for alcohol following accidents and/or when there is reasonable suspicion regarding an employee being under the influence of alcohol.


Despite alcohol abuse being considered a disability by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers in all 50 states maintain the right to forbid employees from consuming or being under the influence of alcohol at work. As mentioned in the article, there are various trusted, scientifically supported ways to test alcohol levels including Evidential Breath Testing, a testing method that is allowed by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and required for a confirmation test and permitted by most states outside of DOT testing. Current concludes, “Alcohol screening when and how permitted is one of the most effective ways for employers to deter workers from using alcohol on the job or being at work while under its influence.”


Background Partners provides award-winning, boutique, and knowledgeable screening services for employers nationwide through comprehensive background checks, education/employment/certificate verifications, drug testing, and occupational health screening. We educate clients on best practices to mitigate risk, maintain proactive communication to stay "in the know", and guarantee lightning-fast turnaround so you can make well-informed decisions faster. Contact us to find out how we help employers confidently on-board new employees easier & faster!


Background Partners does not offer, or provide, legal advice of any kind. Any information on this website is educational information only. 

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