Pilots need substance abuse treatment far more often than many people may imagine, in fact statistics show that pilots have substance abuse issues comparable to the general population. Approximately 11% of pilots involved in some type of mishap or accident tested positive for some type of substance. This statistic can be a scary thought for anyone who flies the friendly skies. Many airlines do drug screen, but this is often done only for cause. This means that there has to be suspicion of substance abuse before the pilot is asked to take the test. In recent years news stories have highlighted pilots who have shown up for work drunk or under the influence of other drugs that cause impairment. These professionals may hesitate to admit they need help for many reasons.
Pilots need substance abuse treatment if they struggle with alcohol or drug use, but many never seek this type of help. Since these professionals are strictly regulated there may be concern that the pilot will be grounded and not allowed to fly. When a pilot is impaired this places everyone at risk, but if confidentiality can not be guaranteed this can be an obstacle to seeking treatment. The right rehab program for these professionals will provide needed support while protecting the privacy of the client. One interesting fact is that the most common drug found when pilots are tested was marijuana, which can slow down thinking and cause problems with concentration. If you are a pilot who needs substance abuse treatment, or you know someone who is, then there is confidential help available.