Alcohol, marijuana and prescription painkillers were the most common substances being used by employees.

Stephen Festa, EMPLOYERS' chief operating officer, said business owners are rightfully concerned about the use of illegal or judgment-impairing substances in their workplaces.

Working Under the Influence"It's a disturbing trend that we have seen developing over the past several years with the rise in prescription opioids and the increasing legalization of marijuana," Festa said. "Employees under the influence of these substances in the workplace not only pose a potential danger to themselves, but also to everyone else around them."

More than three-quarters of those surveyed agreed it's dangerous for their employees to be under the influence of marijuana, prescription painkillers, alcohol and illicit narcotics, such as heroin and cocaine, while at work. In addition, more than half said over-the-counter pain medications could also pose a danger to their employees.

Festa said prescription opioid abuse is of particular concern to those in the workers' compensation insurance industry.

"The Centers for Disease Control has reported that more people die from prescription painkillers than from heroin or cocaine," he said. "Opioid addiction has been linked to decreased worker productivity, as well as making workplaces less safe, prolonging disability claims, and increasing the risk of death from overdoses."

The study was based on surveys of 502 small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

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Drugs and alcohol