As more states legalize use of marijuana, it may not be surprising that use of the drug at the workplace is rising. In fact, it is spiking, increasing 16% since 2014 according to a study from drug test provider Quest Diagnostics.
Alarmingly, use of cannabis is up 24% over the last five years in safety sensitive jobs, like airline pilots and train operators.
For all drugs, use in the workplace has reached the highest in 14 years. One positive note is that the use of opiates in particular at the workplace is down over that period of time, according to Quest.
For employers, these numbers are red flags which may threaten future productivity and well-being among their workforce. They certainly underline the importance of Corporate Wellness Programs in keeping the workplace safe and healthy, alert to the fast-moving changes in our society.
Quest Senior Director of Science and Technology, Barry Sample, urges employers to consider how legalized marijuana impacts their workplace, and how best to protect their workers:
“As marijuana policy changes, and employers consider strategies to protect their employees, customers and general public, employers should weigh the risks that drug use, including marijuana, poses to their business.”
Increasingly, employers are implementing drug rehab programs to help workers who are victims of substance use disorder, treating medicinal use of marijuana with understanding and compassion, while establishing clear drug-free workplace policies.
Currently (June, 2019), marijuana is legal by state law in 10 states and for medicinal use in 33 states, with several more considering legalization.