Drug use is on the rise among UK workers

Around 1 in 4 UK workers have tested positive for drugs in the past three months, according to new figures published by a leading toxicology testing company. In May 2020 almost a third of those tested (30.5%) had traces of illicit substances in their system. The average figure for 2019 was just 21.7%. The average number of positive results over the past three months represents a huge rise of 86% compared with the 2019 average. It’s thought that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown are to blame for the sudden increase.

Drug and alcohol testing is vital in many industries in order to keep employees and the public safe. Employers have been warned to be extra vigilant and to consider additional testing measures.

AlphaBiolabs is based in Warrington and is able to carry out drug & alcohol testing for companies and other organisations. Testing methods include on-site oral fluid testing and urine testing. If the initial screening test produces a positive result, a more detailed test can be done back in their world-class laboratory. Alpha can send a professional tester to your place of business or provide training for your own HR staff. The company also provide a number of DNA testing services and have recently launched a coronavirus testing kit designed for the workplace.

A “very difficult period for society”

Director Rachel Davenport said: “We have been very surprised by the findings, as we have never seen positive rates anywhere near this level before.

“From the second half of March until the end of April, testing virtually ground to a halt as companies put their employees on furlough leave or stopped operating altogether.

“I believe we are now seeing the effects of employees left to their own devices during what has been a very difficult period for society.

“This, potentially coupled with health and money worries, may have influenced some of the decisions that have been made.

“We can only guess that employees may have slipped into bad habits while they may have been furloughed. We recommend that employers inform their staff before they return to work that testing is being conducted, and that they need to consider this and the choices they may be making before returning to work and representing their company.”

Cannabis was the most commonly used substance (found in 39.7% of tests) followed by cocaine (17.2%). Multiple drugs were detected in around 16% of tests. Ecstasy was also found in 3.4% of positive samples.

More information about drug testing

Alpha offer a range of drug testing services tailored towards workplace, legal and private settings. You can view the full range and more information at https://www.alphabiolabs.co.uk/services/drug-testing/

Talk to Frank contains frank & honest information about drugs. They also offer confidential support and advice via phone, text, email and live chat. See https://www.talktofrank.com/

The NHS provide support & treatment for drug addiction in the same way they provide treatment for any other health condition. Your GP can refer you for treatment or you can go directly to your local drug treatment service. More information about NHS drug treatment can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/drug-addiction-getting-help/