According to the most recent National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drug use among teens, young adults and older has been on an upward trend for many years and it is projected that the numbers will continue to grow.

More specifically, from 2019 to 2020, there was a massive increase in positive tests for methamphetamine and cocaine, as well as a jump in workers testing positive for marijuana. The use of marijuana from 2019 to 2020 grew 11% in the general workforce and 29% since 2015 (WSJ).

As the pandemic draws to a close, there is the rising concern of the effect on drug use. The coronavirus has not only brought about physical illness, but also mental illness and substance abuse as people became more isolated. The findings in the KFF Tracking Poll from July 2020 show “Many adults are reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%) due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.”

COVID-19 has caused a lot of fear in the public and has brought about severe anxiety while the isolation aspect of the coronavirus has also caused depression. Both of these mental health issues can bring about substance abuse. As the return to normalcy ramps up, organizations need to consider the effects the pandemic had on their employees’ mental and emotional health.

Ensuring healthy workers return to a healthy workplace is vital. By implementing a drug-free workplace program, you can proactively prevent drug related incidents in the workplace and address underlying needs your employees may have. Educating supervisors to recognize the effects of substance abuse in the workplace and implementing a drug screening program for new hires will go a long way in establishing your company as a safe and responsible environment.

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