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Alcohol and Drug Use

  • A 2009 report found that substance abuse, alcohol in particular, is a chronic challenge in the oil and gas industry’s labour force in Canada, pointing to a 481% increase in Employee Assistance Program (EAP) access for alcohol abuse over a three-year period.1

  • A study of drivers treated at a trauma centre in Toronto for injuries sustained in a serious crash found 41% tested positive for drugs and 35% were positive for alcohol.2

  • Alcohol and other drug use in the workplace costs business and industry more than $2.8 billion per year in lost productivity in Alberta. If left untreated, substance abuse contributes to unsafe work practices, accidents and increase risk of injury; depression, stress, reduced morale and other emotional problems; increased absenteeism, and higher workers’ compensation and insurance costs.3

  • In a recent employer survey, a large proportion of employers (79%) in Alberta reported that testing had been either “very” or “somewhat” effective in reducing workplace problems due to alcohol. The results were even stronger for drug testing, with 87.3% reporting a positive effect.4

  • A 2002 study found construction companies that conduct drug tests reduced their injury rates by 51% within two years of implementation, from a rate of 8.9 injuries per 200,000 work-hours to 4.4 injuries per 200,000 work hours.5

  • Nearly 40% of industrial fatalities and 47% of industrial injuries in the United States can be linked to alcohol consumption and alcoholism.6



1. JACKSON, Marla. (2009). Health and Wellness Trends in the Oil and Gas Sector: Insights from The Shepell·fgi Research Group. Shepell·fgi.
2. BEASLEY, Erin, and BEIRNESS, Doug. (2011). Drug use by fatally injured drivers in Canada (2000-2008). Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
3. EVANS, Mark. Addictions site set to help. Alberta Health Services, 28 May 2013. Web, 23 July 2013.
4. THOMPSON, Angus H., JACOBS, Philip and DEWA, Carolyn S. (2011). The Alberta Survey of Addictive Behaviours and Mental Health in the Workforce: 2009. Institute of Health Economics.
5. PHARE, Stephanie, BERGERMAN, Lisa and BARRON, Gary. (2010). Workplace addiction and mental health in the construction industry: Literature synthesis. Alberta Health Services – Addiction and Mental Health.
6. LYNDS, Corinne. Combatting alcohol and drug use in the workplace. Canadian Manufacturing, 14 October 2009. Web, 23 July 2013.