- Pilots have a rate of substance abuse that is comparable with physicians, legal professionals, and top executives. This is caused in part by excessive stress on the job, long hours, and other special factors.
- Approximately 15%-20% of all aviation incidents and accidents around the globe involve a pilot who tests positive for some substance.
- The most commonly abused substances for pilot are marijuana and alcohol. Both of these can be extremely dangerous if quick thinking is required due to an aviation emergency.
- In general pilots who have substance abuse issues are typically older than those with substance abuse problems in the general population.
- Pilots are required to undergo substance testing according to the FAA guidelines and requirements. Any pilot who has an official test that is positive may be grounded until the FAA removes this restriction.
- Pilots who enter a substance abuse program without ever failing an FAA test or exam will enjoy complete confidentiality. If help is not sought until after the FAA is made aware of the problem then a more extensive rehab may be needed and aftercare treatment and testing may be required.
- Roughly 10% of all aviation accidents involve a positive test for prohibited substances, and these pilots face disciplinary action by the FAA as well as criminal charges in some cases.
- The number of pilots who report for work under the influence of alcohol or drugs is much higher than the general public believes. Many crew members have reported incidents of pilots being relieved and sent home because of their mental condition.