Drug use by hospitality workers soared to new highs in 2023

The percentage of employees who failed tests for marijuana consumption spiked particularly sharply, according to the Quest Diagnostics testing service.
Restaurants and hotels had the highest incidence of workers testing positive for cannabis use. | Photo: Shutterstock

Substance abuse soared last year among restaurant and hotel employees, with the proportion of workers failing drug tests jumping 12.9% to an incidence rate of nearly 8%, according to the Quest Diagnostics testing service.

Marijuana use increased particularly sharply, with 17.3% more hospitality workers testing positive for THC, the lab network noted. About 9.5% of the employees tested for weed use were found to be indulging, the highest rate across all industries. The next highest incidence rate, found in the retailing business, was 8.2%

The hospitality business also had the highest incidence of general drug use, with a 7.9% rate. Retailing was again second, with a rate of 7%.

Quest did not speculate on the reasons for the increases in drug-test failures within the restaurant and hotel workforces. But a study released last month by the Society for the Study of Addiction found that daily cannabis consumption in the U.S. has surpassed the per-day intake of alcohol for the first time. It concluded that THC intake is rising as a result of more states permitting the use of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes. Twenty-four states now allow adults to purchase THC-laced products for a high having nothing to do with medical conditions.

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