Industry News

Is Drug and Alcohol Testing Enough to Combat the Surge in Drug & Alcohol Use During COVID-19?

October 29, 2020

New data emphasizes the surge in drug and alcohol abuse across the United States spurred by the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to the pandemic’s impact on individual healthcare access and support, vigilance is now more imperative than ever before to combat the fallout before and as people return to work.


“The rate of orders for clinical lab tests from Quest dropped by as much as 70% weekly, indicating fewer patients were being screened for misuse during the early months of the pandemic” (Sparkman, 2020). Despite a reduction in lab tests, the overall rate of misuse shows one in two people tested exhibited signs of misuse of prescription or illicit drugs.

Comparing 2020 pre-pandemic months to the timeframe of March 13 through the end of May, Millennium Health found the following increase in substance use (Sparkman, Drug Abuse on the Rise Because of COVID-19, 2020):

·        32% nonprescribed fentanyl

·        20% methamphetamine

·        12.5% heroin

·        10% cocaine


These startling increases beg the question — is drug and alcohol testing really enough to combat the surge in drug and alcohol use during and after the pandemic?


Partnering with an auditing service, such as TPS Alert, to enact ongoing contractor drug and alcohol compliance monitoring is a critical step in prevention. Compliance rates among contractors who are not enrolled in a monitoring program average less than 10% drug and alcohol compliance. However, Operators working with TPS Alert to define contractor drug and alcohol expectations and to verify that those expectations are being met achieve over 90% compliance*.


Contact us to find out how TPS Alert can support your ongoing safety initiatives and COVID return-to-work solutions.  

Works Cited

Sparkman, D. (2020, August 24). Drug Abuse on the Rise Because of COVID-19. Retrieved from EHS Today:

Sparkman, D. (2020, October 21). Shock: Data Reveals Drug Abuse Worse Than Thought. Retrieved from EHS Today:


*TPS Alert Internal Data, 2020


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