Hospitality Industry Workplace Drug Testing

A Federal government survey revealed that the hospitality industry experiences some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse. The hospitality industry includes hotel/motel companies, drinking and restaurant establishments, and tourism-based business.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the Hospitality Industry

The most commonly abused drugs in the hospitality industry are not limited to:

Employee Substance Abuse Statistics

An extensive study conducted by the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance between 2008 -2012 found that 19.1 percent of workers in the hospitality industry were using illicit drugs compared to 8.6 percent of workers across all industries. Sadly, this percentage had risen by 2.2 percent since the previous study gathered from 2003 -2007. One can only surmise that the next survey will reveal an even higher rise in this devastating situation. It is clear that leaders in the hospitality industry are not actively involved in reducing the incidence of drug abuse in their sector.


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Among employees in the hotel/motel sector: 

  • 9.3 percent admit to using illicit drugs during the past month 
  • 17 percent admit to using illicit drugs during the past year.

Among employees at eating and drinking establishments

  • More than 16 percent admit to using illicit drugs during the past month.
  • 28 percent admit to using illicit drugs during the past year. 

Alcohol Abuse in Bars and Restaurants

The hospitality industry is also ranked as the third-highest for heavy alcohol use at 11.8 percent. SAMHSA puts the numbers at about one in five illicit drug users and one in ten heavy alcohol users working in the hospitality industry. While these studies don’t mention if the excessive drug and alcohol usage was happening during work hours, it is a likely reality due to the prevalence of drugs in the industry.

Even though it is illegal to drink while on duty, in some states bartenders will still do it and hide their habits. It is common practice for customers to buy their barmen shots. Businesses are exposed to liability and loss if staff members are drunk and leave the premises open at the end of a shift, or get violent with a customer or accidentally start a fire etc. Having a strict zero-tolerance drug policy in place is both good for the business and the individual.

Drug Abuse By Industry - HOSPITALITY


Current Illicit Drug Use (%)

Current Heavy Alcohol Use (%)




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Chef Anthony Bourdain spoke of how prevalent drug usage was in the 1970’s restaurant industry in his memoir “Kitchen Confidential” where he described the kitchen as “insular, chaotic, drenched in drugs and alcohol, and accompanied constantly by loud rock and roll music.” It appears nothing much has changed if we are to believe the statistics. The hospitality industry has the reputation of being one of the most stressful, pressurized work environments on the planet. Long hours and brutal work conditions along with a glorification of fierce competition have led to a drug-fueled atmosphere that can lead to bad habits and burnout.

Drug Testing in the Hospitality Industry

From large multinational corporations to small locally owned hotels, motels and restaurants, hospitality industry employers across the country are implementing drug-free workplace programs to ensure productive workforces and safe workplaces - company features that ultimately result in increased profitability and success.

Our corporate purchasing plan is available for those organizations who wish to order instant drug test kits and/or establish an account to do laboratory-based drug testing for their workplace. Our corporate drug testing plans are flexible and are tailored to your specific needs and requirements. We have a dedicated Customer Service and Sales Team available to assist you in choosing the best option for your company.

For more information in regards to setting up a corporate purchasing plan, please fill in your details on the right-hand side or email us and an account representative will be in touch with you shortly.

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