Substance abuse is not only a recreational activity, but also pervades factories and offices. In addition to the criminal aspects of on-the-job substance use, there are the costs of decreased productivity and increased job-related accidents. Sloppy workmanship, combined with rising health-care costs and lost productivity, increase an employer's cost of doing business and may hinder the company's ability to compete in the market place. Moreover, defective products and services pose safety and health hazards to the public.
In one industrialized nation, drug users were found to be one third less productive, over three times more likely to be involved in an on-the-job accident, and absent from work more than twice as often as non-drug-using employees. Health-care benefits paid to employees using drugs exceed the average level. Alcohol and illegal drug use by employees is estimated to cost industry in the USA over $100 billion per year.
In Great Britain (1996) twenty-five per cent of accidents at work involved intoxicated workers.