Drug Use, Workplace Accidents and Employee Turnover


drug use, work-related accidents, employee turnover, workforce


A number of studies presume that illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use increase the risk of work-related accidents and employee turnover. The results of these studies are inconsistent, however, with several reporting a significant association between employee drug use and accidents, and others finding no association. A more consistent result is that drug use is associated with employee turnover, especially an increased risk of termination and resignation. A significant limitation is that most of this research has relied on regional or industry-specific samples. Thus, whether their results generalize to the U.S. workforce is unknown. Using data from a large, representative sample of the U.S. population, we provide a detailed analysis of the relationships among drug use, work-related accidents, and employee turnover. The results indicate that various measures of drug use are not associated with work-related accidents. However, several types of drug use are related to the risk of being fired or resigning from a job in the previous year. Moreover, the risk of being fired varies by occupation.

Original Publication Citation

Hoffmann, John P., and Cindy L. Larison. 1999. “Drug Use, Workplace Accidents, and Worker Turnover.” Journal of Drug Issues 29(2): 341-364.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Journal of Drug Issues




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor