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New Data: Going to Work Sober May Increase Risk of Workplace Fatality

Submitted by smorgan on
The Drug Czar's latest blog post, entitled Is Your Workplace Drug Free? If Not, We Can Help, begins as follows:

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the vast majority of drug users are employed, and when they arrive for work, they don't leave their problems at the door. Of the 17.2 million illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2005, 12.9 million (74.8 percent) were employed either full or part time.

Ok, so nearly ¾ of illegal drug users are employed. They have jobs, just like everybody else. Interesting. But here's where you're supposed to get freaked out:

Furthermore, research indicates that between 10 and 20 percent of the nation's workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs.

Umm, pardon me, but so what? The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 8.3% of respondents had used illegal drugs in the past month and 50.9% had used alcohol. If that many people are using alcohol and other drugs regularly, then it is not surprising to learn that 10-20% of people who died at work had drugs in their system. It doesn't prove that the drugs caused the accident.

Think about this: 80-90% of people killed at work tested negative for alcohol/drugs, even though more than half the population uses them. If anything, the evidence suggests a frightening link between sobriety and workplace fatalities. But don't take it from me. After all, it was the Drug Czar who brought this up.

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