Drugs in the workplace a concern

Illegal drugs in the workplace are a major concern.

How many people in the Australian workforce turn up to work under the influence of illegal drugs? Less than 1 per cent? Two per cent at a stretch?

It might surprise you to know that the Australian Safety and Compensation Council report that the figure is 2.5 per cent of the workforce. That’s 2.5 per cent of all Australians who turned up to work under the influence of illicit drugs in 2017.

The shocking figures were published in a recent Safe to Work article. The article also highlighted that in 2017, South Australia was the state with the highest number of people in safety-focussed industries that turned up to work under the influence of methamphetamines. It reported that as many as 5000 people reported for work in the state in 2017 despite being under the influence of methamphetamines, commonly known as ICE.

These and other drugs in the workplace statistics have seen an increasing number of organisations outsource their drug and alcohol testing to third-party providers, such as Integrity Sampling. According to the Safe to Work article, “It is more affordable and customisable to each organisation’s unique needs (to outsource drug and alcohol testing).”

The article cites the example of a company that, “saw its average positive readings halved from 6 per cent to 3 per cent since commencing the testing earlier this year (2018).

Other drugs in the workplace statistics

  • The Alcohol and Drug Foundation estimates that alcohol and misuse of other drugs cost Australian workplaces around $6 billion a year.
  • A Business Insider Australia report estimates there are almost 300,000 full-time employers in Australia who misuse drugs or alcohol.
  • The International Labour Organisation believes close to 25 per cent of all injuries at work are directly related to alcohol and drug misuse.
  • The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre claims in industries such as agriculture, building, science and engineering, approximately 3% of people have reported being absent from work due to illegal drug use.


Illegal drugs in the workplace are a major concern. Credit Heath Alseike https://bit.ly/2Ra0Au8

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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