Performance Improvement 2008. Do Workers Use Illicit Drugs and Alcohol; Are They Aware of Workplace Substance Use Policies?


This study collected information about illicit drug and alcohol use among adult full-time workers aged 18 to 64 and on workplace drug policies and programs, based on data from the 2002, 2003, and 2004 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. The National Surveys document variations in rates of substance use, dependence and abuse by type of business, specific occupation, and industry as well differences by demographic group and geographic area. A large part of the study was dedicated to drug-testing policies and programs and workplace behaviors and attitudes toward drug testing.

Approximately 8.2 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 were found to be current illicit drug users. The highest rates of past month illicit drug use were found among workers in the accommodations and food services (16.9 percent) and construction (13.7 percent) industries. Illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use were found to be associated with higher levels of absenteeism and frequent job changes. Around 30 percent of the full-time work force reported that random drug testing took place in their current employment setting. While over half of workers reported that it made no difference to them if an employer tests employees randomly for drug use after hiring, 39.8 percent said they would be more likely to work for such an employer while 8.7 percent reported they would be less likely.

Report Title: Worker Substance Use and Workplace Policies and Programs,
Agency Sponsor: SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Federal Contact: James Colliver, 240-276-1252
Performer: RTI International

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"PerformanceImprovement2008.pdf" (pdf, 1.29Mb)

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