Only 17 Percent of Workers Receive Serious Repercussions For Discussing Drug Use

09 Jul, 2019 F.J. Thomas


Sarasota, FL ( – A new study from drug treatment centers Serenity At Summit indicates that even with the legalization of  Marijuana in many states, workers are still hesitant to discuss drug use with co-workers and managers.

The study surveyed over 1,000 full time workers who were recreational drug users, and reviewed 2013 data from the National Survey On Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). According to the study, 43 percent of employees were uncomfortable discussing drug use with colleagues. Drug use ranked fourth highest of uncomfortable topics, which included sex at 59 percent, religion at 49 percent, and politics at 48 percent.

Men were more likely than women to discuss their drug use with their co-workers. Fifty-six percent of men had discussed their drug use with co-workers while 51 percent of women had divulged details of their use. Additionally, 35 percent of workers had discussed their use with a supervisor, and on average it takes 7 months for an employee to feel comfortable talking about their drug use.

The study cited statistics from the National Institute On Drug Abuse showing that 9.4 percent of Americans aged 12 and older had used drugs, as of 2013.

Eighty percent of men and 77 percent of the women polled stated that the discussion was initiated by a co-worker, that they did not initiate the discussion themselves. The study showed that there were several reasons behind the discussion, such as age or appearing more approachable. Promises of confidentiality and having drug use in common was a contributor to the discussions occurring. It is notable that 57 percent of employees that discussed the drug use also indulged in drugs together.

There were differences in types of industry as well. In the hotel and service industry, 75 percent of employees discussed drug use with their co-workers, followed by real estate at 68 percent, sales at 66 percent, transportation and warehousing at 57 percent, and legal at 56 percent.

Fifty one percent of executives discussed their drug use which was just shy of entry level employees at 54 percent.

Of those polled, only 17 percent stated that they had experienced negative effects of discussing their drug use at work, but an overwhelming 83 percent stated that they had not. Of those that did experience repercussions, 38 percent received an official warning and 37 percent were made fun of by co-workers.

Inappropriateness was the largest reason employees did not discuss their drug use, at 58 percent. Fear of losing out on a promotion was the reason 38 percent declined talking about their drug use, and 28 percent feared that co-workers would think they had an addiction.

You can read the full study on the Serenity website.

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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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