Drug misuse remains a problem.

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On a regular basis it isn’t technical devices which fail, it is their operators. Besides inattention, drug abuse is one of the most common factors. Sharon Smyth from the British “hrmagazine” discusses new data and analyzes how companies cope with this problem.
 
Alcohol proves to be the most commonly used drug in industrialized countries. As a new survey of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) indicates, in Britain drug abuse and its subsequent effects costs businesses about GPP 6.4 bn a year, about a third of it due to increased absenteeism. A leading drug screening provider estimates that about 3% of all employees are "under the influence" at work at any given time. Not astonishingly a survey found that 60% of the British companies sampled worry that leisure time drug use may impact on work. Overall, 40% of British companies have explicit guidelines with regard to drugs, and in safety critical organizations the rate is 75%. Currently more than half of them test for drugs, and more plan to do so in the future. Drug testing has proved to reduce drug abuse at work significantly. The earlier focus on hard drugs has given way to the realization that alcohol is quantitatively a more serious danger. In addition, drug testing today is regularly embedded into an educational and procedural framework offering support before disciplinary action may be taken. A current survey by the CIPD found that 60% of those employees referred to treatment continued to work in the organizations after having learned how to cope with their problem.
 
Given the high failure rate for treatments of alcohol abuse these results are promising. A majority were able to keep the job after treatment. It is also high time to address alcohol more consequently. There are ethical questions connected to drug testing by employers, but drunken airline crews heading for their flight and just being stopped at the gate put the issue into context. Testing cannot substitute for education and personal responsibility.