Note: The following statistics should not be attributed to the U.S. Department of Labor, but rather their respective +footnoted sources listed at the bottom of the page.
Despite fairly widespread belief, the health care industry is not immune to workplace substance abuse. Health care industry workers who abuse alcohol and other drugs threaten the safety and well being of not only themselves, but their colleagues and a countless number of patients. By keeping America's hospitals, clinics and other heath-related establishments free of substance abuse, industry administrators work to ensure the health of their staff and clients and further their company's reputation as a provider of high-quality services in which patients and their loved ones can place their trust.
A Federal government survey revealed that more than 4 percent of nursing home employees and more than five percent of hospital and other health services employees report heavy drinking.1
Rates of substance abuse among different types of personnel within the health care industry are as follows:2
Current Illicit Drug Use (%)
Past Year Illicit Drug Use (%)
Current Heavy Drug Use (%)
Physicians, Dentists, Optometrists
Nurses and Nursing Aides
Dental and Health Aides
Clinical and Laboratory Technologists
The good news is that more and more health care industry employers, ranging from large hospitals to small clinics, are implementing drug-free workplace programs in order to ensure a safe working environment for their employees and high-quality care for their clients.
1 US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (1996). Drug Use among U.S. Workers: Prevalence and Trends by Occupation and Industry Categories. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services.
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