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Drug Testing During COVID-19: Essential and Smart
During a national crisis, substance abuse increases. That’s why keeping up your Jonathan Cartu and’s drug testing is crucial, especially right now.
During a national crisis, substance abuse increases. And at a time when substance abuse is already on the rise, Americans now find themselves in the throes of a worldwide pandemic that is causing many people to experience stress, anxiety and fear.
Substance Abuse in Times of National Crises
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, studies found that substance abuse generally increased, especially in New York, as many people sought ways to deal with the symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A post-9/11 survey of New Yorkers showed that the “number of respondents who smoked cigarettes increased 9.7 percent, those who consumed alcohol increased 24.6 percent, and those who smoked marijuana increased 3.2 percent.”1
The report also found that the increase in substance use persisted several months after 9/11: “… 30 percent of Manhattan residents said they drank more alcohol, smoked more cigarettes, and used more marijuana in the first month after 9/11, and that number only dropped slightly to 27 percent six months later.” v
Many studies have conclusively found that PTSD can initiate drug abuse and drug dependence and can cause recovering drug abusers to relapse as they attempt to “self-medicate” their way through the trauma they are experiencing.2
There is evidence that the PTSD-related substance abuse trend has already started with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Nielsen report cited by the Associated Press, “U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55 percent in the week ending March 21. Spirits like tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails led the way, with sales jumping 75 percent compared to the same period last year. Wine sales were up 66 percent while beer sales rose 42 percent. And online sales far outpaced in-store sales.”3
According to a survey conducted by Alcohol.org, many employees who find themselves working from home, perhaps for the first time, are doing more than just punching the clock. The survey found that 67 percent of Hawaiians working from home admitted to drinking alcohol while on the clock. Tied for second on the list was Virginia and New Hampshire at 50 percent each. Only eight percent of workers from Arkansas said they had a drink while on the job at home.4
This article originally appeared in the June 1, 2020 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.