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With drug use in the UK amongst the highest in Europe
, the use of drugs in the workplace is a significanthealth, safety and financial risk for UK businesses. For the first time in the UK, there is significant data tomeasure that risk. Concateno, a leading European drug and alcohol testing provider, has analysed theresults of over 1.6 million UK workplace drug tests over the past five years and has found that:
At least 1 in 30 UK employees has drugs in their system at any point in time (which equates to nearly onemillion people across the UK workforce)
There has been a 43 per cent increase in UK employees testing positive for drug use from 2007 to 2011
The most prevalent drugs used by UK employees are cannabis, opiates and cocaine
25-34 year olds are the most likely age group to test positive for Class A drugs
not under 25 year olds,as many assumeThis report aims to provide UK employers, government and industry bodies with an enhanced understandingof drug use in the workplace.
Concateno conducts and supplies over 10 million tests annually into a range of industries and sectors.This research report analyses the results of 1,668,330
drug tests conducted by Concateno’s laboratories on
behalf of 856 UK employers over a five year period (2007 to 2011) to measure the incidence of drug useamongst employees.The tests analysed in this report have been conducted on those either in employment or as part of pre-employment procedures. Companies that have a drug testing programme in place tend to be mature, safetyand performance-conscious businesses. Therefore, the wider picture of drug use across the UK population islikely to be higher.The 2010/11 British Crime Survey identified three million (8.8%) British adults admitting to using an illicit drugin the past year, including those who are unemployed.
Workplace drug testing programmes are implemented by organisations of all sizes across a range of industrysectors throughout the UK. The most common sectors include public transport, freight haulage, emergencyservices, utilities, retail, manufacturing and construction.The tests analysed in this report have been conducted as part of random or pre-employment programmes,rather than following an incident at work or where there was a suspicion of drug use. All were conducted inorganisations that had an estabished drug testing policy in place. This means that employees know theycould be tested as part of their employment.Test results are from both urine and oral fluid analysis, however, most workplace drug testing is conductedusing urine samples. In both sample types, where an employee tests positive for a drug, they will have mostlikely consumed the drug in recent days.