Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and Programs: Results from the 1994 and 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
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The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) is conducted annually by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The survey provides estimates of the prevalence of use of a variety of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, based on a nationally representative sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized population age 12 years and older. In 1994, as a result of a collaborative effort among SAMHSA, the Department of Labor, and the Small Business Administration, a special module of questions was included in the NHSDA in order to collect detailed information from workers on the size of their workplace, workplace accidents in which they may have been involved, their company=s drugs testing programs, their absences from work, their separation from work (e.g., voluntary, firing), and their workplace=s policies and programs regarding drug and alcohol use. In 1997, a similar workplace module was included in the NHSDA. This report examines data from 7,055 NHSDA respondents, age 18-49, in 1994 and 7,957 NHSDA respondents, age 18-49, in 1997, who reported that they were working full-time (35 hours or more a week) at the time of the interview. These respondents represent over 78.7 million full-time workers in the U. S. in 1994 and over 81.8 million in 1997. The principal findings include:
Although the rate of drug use is higher among the unemployed, most drug users are employed. Of all the current illicit drug users age 18-49, 70 percent were employed full-time.
In the overall population age 18-49 represented by the NHSDA in 1997, about 7.7 percent of full-time workers reported current illicit drug use (any illicit drug use in the past month) and 7.6 percent reported heavy alcohol use (5 or more drinks per occasion on 5 or more days in the past month).
Among full-time workers age 18-49, there were 6.3 million current illicit drug users and 6.2 million heavy alcohol users. Included in these numbers were 1.6 million people who used both any illicit drug and were heavy alcohol users in the past month.
The percentage of full-time workers age 18-49 reporting current illicit drug use and/or heavy alcohol use remained stable between 1994 and 1997.
This page was last updated on December 30, 2008.