Health Care

How Can I Know If Someone I Work With Is Using Drugs?

The majority of people who admitted to past year drug use, binge drinking, or heavy drinking actually work either a full or a part time job, as stated in a recent study conducted by This severely impacts the belief many Americans have that most substance abusers are homeless or unemployed individuals. It is also a reason why people need to be more aware of the possibility that their co-workers and employees could be using drugs on or off the clock, both of which can cause serious problems at work.

15 percent of people working in the United States admitted to using alcohol at work or to being impaired while working at least once in the last year. This is serious, especially because 79.3 percent of all binge drinkers in the United States have at least a part time job. Even when one drinks to excess off the clock, this can lead to serious problems at work, like the potential for more accidents to occur, the increase in turnover for employees, and the higher likelihood of workplace conflicts. What’s more, 68.9 percent of people who abuse illicit drugs also had full or part-time jobs.

You can begin to recognize when someone you work with is using drugs by looking for a few simple signs. The individual will likely get into disputes frequently with other co-workers or possibly even customers. They will often show a decrease in their performance, become careless, and frequently be late or absent from work. In addition, the individual is likely to become very defensive if the issue of substance abuse comes up. If you know someone who exhibits these signs, there is a strong likelihood that they are abusing drugs or alcohol.

Certain jobs can actually increase one’s addiction risk as well. Those who work in high-stress professions like construction work, healthcare, food service, hospitality, or business management have a serious risk of substance abuse, and healthcare workers especially have easy access to drugs. In fact, 69 percent of physicians abuse prescription medications like opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants.

When it comes to alcohol, miners have the highest rates of abuse and addiction, partly because drinking is so prevalent in the culture of this workplace. Agricultural workers, retail and sales representatives, waste management workers, entertainers, and lawyers are also among some of the top professions with a high risk of substance abuse.

Taking all of these variables into account, you can start to paint a picture in your mind of a co-worker who is abusing drugs or alcohol and compare it to the person about whom you are concerned. If you think the person you know is misusing dangerous substances, make sure to talk to a supervisor. If you are struggling with addiction yourself, make sure never to let your job stand in the way of seeking treatment. Your employer would likely prefer that you are honest about needing help, and in many cases, they will provide you with the means to seek treatment and start your recovery in the safest, most effective way possible.

 Top 10 Jobs With Risk of Substance Abuse