Research indicates that the more hours adolescents work, the more likely they are to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and use marijuana.1 The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) asks persons aged 15 or older about their employment status during the past week and, if they were employed, the number of hours they worked.2 The survey also asks persons aged 12 or older questions related to their past month use of alcohol and illicit drugs. Any illicit drug refers to marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin, or prescription-type drugs used nonmedically.3 Binge alcohol use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.
This report focuses on past week employment and any past month use of alcohol, past month binge alcohol use, and past month use of any illicit drug among youths aged 15 to 17.4 All findings presented in this report are annual averages based on combined 2002, 2003, and 2004 NSDUH data.
Based on estimates from 2002 to 2004, 33.7 percent of youths aged 15 to 17 were employed either part or full time during the past week. Employment was more common among white youths (39.0 percent) than youths who were Hispanic (26.0 percent), black (23.2 percent), Asian (23.2 percent), or American Indian or Alaska Native (19.2 percent). Youths living in non-metropolitan areas were more likely to be employed than those living in metropolitan areas (38.2 vs. 32.7 percent). Additionally, youths who were not attending or enrolled in school at the time of the interview were more likely to be employed than those who were attending or enrolled in school (46.9 vs. 33.2 percent).5 Youths with family incomes less than 125 percent of the Federal poverty threshold were less likely to be employed in the past week than those with family incomes in higher categories relative to the poverty threshold (Figure 1).6
|Figure 1. Percentages of Youths Aged 15 to 17 Employed in the Past Week, by Family Income Relative to Federal Poverty Threshold: 2002, 2003, and 2004|
During the month prior to the interview, 28.3 percent of youths aged 15 to 17 used alcohol, and 18.4 percent engaged in binge alcohol use. Employed youths were more likely than youths who were not employed to have drunk alcohol (35.9 vs. 24.4 percent) and to have binged on alcohol in the past month (24.6 vs. 15.2 percent). These findings were consistent regardless of gender, county type, and family income relative to the Federal poverty threshold (Table 1).
|Table 1. Percentages of Youths Aged 15 to 17 Reporting Past Month Alcohol Use, by Employment Status and Demographic Characteristics: 2002, 2003, and 2004|
Among youths aged 15 to 17, 16.8 percent used an illicit drug during the past month. Employed youths were more likely to have used an illicit drug in the past month than those who were not employed (19.4 vs. 15.6 percent). This finding was consistent for males and females. Among employed youths aged 15 to 17, the illicit drugs most frequently used in the past month were marijuana (15.8 percent), prescription drugs used nonmedically (6.0 percent), hallucinogens (1.7 percent), cocaine (1.2 percent), and inhalants (1.0 percent).
Among employed youths aged 15 to 17, 58.0 percent worked 19 or fewer hours in the past week, and 42.0 percent worked 20 or more hours in the past week. Rates of past month alcohol use, binge alcohol use, and illicit drug use were higher among youths working 20 or more hours than among those working 19 or fewer hours in the past week (Figure 2).
|Figure 2. Percentages of Employed Youths Aged 15 to 17 Reporting Past Month Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use, by Number of Hours Worked: 2002, 2003, and 2004|
Among employed youths aged 15 to 17, 21.6 percent were employed at a workplace that conducted drug testing, and 15.6 percent were employed at a workplace that conducted alcohol testing. An estimated 13.7 percent of employed youths aged 15 to 17 worked at a place that tested for drugs or alcohol as part of the hiring process. Past month alcohol use was higher among youths employed at a workplace that did not conduct alcohol testing than among youths employed at a workplace that conducted alcohol testing (37.2 vs. 32.8 percent). The rate of illicit drug use did not differ significantly between youths employed at workplaces that conducted drug testing and those employed at workplaces that did not conduct drug testing.
Source: SAMHSA, 2002, 2003, and 2004 NSDUHs.
* Youths with unknown or missing school enrollment status were excluded from this analysis.
|The National Survey on Drug
Use and Health (NSDUH) is an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prior to 2002, this survey was
called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). The 2002, 2003, and
2004 data used in this report are based on information obtained from 33,520
youths aged 15 to 17. The survey collects data by administering questionnaires
to a representative sample of the population through face-to-face interviews at
their place of residence.
The NSDUH Report is prepared by the Office of Applied Studies (OAS), SAMHSA, and by RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. (RTI International is a trade name of Research Triangle Institute.)
Information on NSDUH used in compiling data for this issue is available in the following publications:
Office of Applied Studies. (2005). Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings (DHHS Publication No. SMA 05-4062, NSDUH Series H-28). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Office of Applied Studies. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings (DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3964, NSDUH Series H-25). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Office of Applied Studies. (2003). Results from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings (DHHS Publication No. SMA 03-3836, NSDUH Series H-22). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Also available online: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov
Because of improvements and modifications to the 2002 NSDUH, estimates from the 2002, 2003, and 2004 surveys should not be compared with estimates from the 2001 or earlier versions of the survey to examine changes over time.
The NSDUH Report (formerly The NHSDA Report) is published periodically by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). All material appearing in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from SAMHSA. Additional copies of this report or other reports from the Office of Applied Studies are available online: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov Citation of the source is appreciated. For questions about this report, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This page was last updated on December 30, 2008.