Grabbing To “Get Well”

Employee Theft And Addiction Is Impacting Retailer’s Bottom Line

The nationwide drug crisis, led by the increased abuse and addiction to illicit drugs and opioids is one factor driving in increase in workplace theft. While the changing landscape of marijuana legalization throughout the U.S. is capturing headlines, theft from employees abusing harder drugs including cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs continues to impact the bottom line. These users are more likely to steal from their employer to support their habit, not typically the recreational/occasional marijuana smoker.

Approximately 70% of the 14.8 million Americans who abuse drugs are employed, and It’s estimated that 80% of drug abusers steal from their workplace to support their drug habit and/or need to “Get Well” fending off symptoms of withdrawal. The truth is, employers must not turn a blind eye and assume their organization is not affected. Workforce drug positivity rates are the highest they have been in a decade according to Quest Diagnostic’s 2018 Drug Testing Index, with the retail industry showing the highest positivity rate of illicit drug use reported for the third straight year among 16 total industries studied.

According to a National Retail Federation survey, American retailers lose almost $50 billion dollars annually to theft, and 33.2% of all inventory shrinkage in 2018 was due to employees stealing from their place of employment.

Source of Retail Inventory Shrinkage (2018 Average)
  • Shoplifting/external (including ORC) 35.7% 35.7%
  • Employee theft/internal 33.2% 33.2%
  • Administrative and paperwork error 18.8% 18.8%
  • Vendor fraud or error 5.8% 5.8%
  • Unknown loss 6.6% 6.6%

Rapid Oral Fluid Drug Testing Can Help Protect Employers

Results from a survey conducted by show that 58% of respondents admitted to using drugs with a co-worker, and 41% purchased drugs from someone at work. The stark reality is that employers must take a proactive approach to combat substance abuse in their workplace as in most cases employee theft and substance abuse is not an isolated incident.

The strong correlation between drug abuse in the workplace and inventory shrinkage does not stop there. Retail fraud rings have also been discovered, and police say they are on the rise. In December of 2018, a 70 year old woman was arrested for paying heroin addicts to steal from a number of major big box retailers, then fenced the stolen items out of her bar.

Rapid Oral Fluid Drug Testing For The Workplace

As the landscape of drug abuse in the workplace evolves, so does the testing technology and methodology for which employers can utilize to combat internal theft driven by employee drug use. Premier Biotech’s rapid oral fluid screening device OralTox, can serve as a powerful tool for pre-employment testing, or detect recent use of illicit drugs fast in situations where an employer needs to act quick in times of reasonable suspicion of employee activity. Now for in vitro diagnostic use for point-of-care for: Amphetamine, Cocaine, Marijuana, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Opiates, Oxycodone and Phencyclidine.

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