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Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and Programs: Results from the 1994 and 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse

CHAPTER 2: CURRENT ILLICIT DRUG USE AND HEAVY ALCOHOL USE B DEMOGRAPHIC, AND WORKPLACE CHARACTERISTICS

This chapter provides descriptive information on full-time workers, age 18-49, who reported current illicit drug use or heavy alcohol use in 1997 as compared to 1994. The prevalence of current illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use is examined by the respondents= demographic characteristics such as age and gender, and workplace characteristics such as establishment size and occupation. The purpose of this chapter is to describe those reporting drug use in more detail and also to find possible associations of drug use to basic demographic and workplace characteristics. Another purpose is to highlight significant differences between the 1994 and 1997 surveys.

The main findings for this chapter are listed below:

In 1997, the rate of current illicit drug use was higher among 18-25 year olds, males, whites, those with less than high school education, and those who reported annual personal income of less than $9,000 than among older workers, females, blacks and Hispanics, those with education achievement of high school or higher, and those who reported personal income higher than $9,000.

The distribution by demographic characteristics of current heavy alcohol users was similar to that of current illicit drug users, except that the rate of heavy alcohol use for workers reporting personal income of $9,000-$19,999 was higher than for other higher income categories.

In 1997, workers in small establishments reported the highest rate of current illicit drug use; workers in medium-sized establishments reported the highest rate of heavy alcohol use.

The rate of current illicit drug use in medium-sized establishments increased between 1994 and 1997. During the same time period, the rates of current illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use in small establishments decreased.

Among the categories studied, food preparation workers, waiters, waitresses, and bartenders; construction workers; other service occupations workers; workers in transportation and material moving reported the highest rates of current illicit drug use.

Current heavy alcohol use was found to be more prevalent among handlers, helpers and laborers; construction workers; precision production and repair workers; other service workers; and workers in transportation and material moving.

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