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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 3: CURRENT ILLICIT DRUG USE AND HEAVY ALCOHOL USE AND THEIR ASSOCIATIONS WITH WORKPLACE OUTCOMES

Labor force participants in the NHSDA were asked a set of questions with regard to their workplace experiences such as job mobility, work attendance, and workplace accidents. This chapter presents the potential associations between current drug use or heavy alcohol use and adverse workplace outcomes.

3.1 Drug Use Status and Workplace Outcomes

Drug use among workers is related to a series of outcomes including workers' health, productivity, and labor market performance (National Research Council, 1994). To explore this, Figure 3.1 shows various workplace outcomes by current illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use, using the sample of full-time workers age 18-49. Detailed information is provided in Tables 3.1 and 3.2.
 

In 1997, those who reported current illicit drug use were more likely than those who reported no current illicit drug use to have worked for three or more employers in the past year (9.3% vs. 4.3%), to have skipped one or more days of work in the past month (12.9% vs. 5.0%), or to have voluntarily left an employer in the past year (24.8% vs. 15.4%).

Similarly, those reporting current heavy alcohol use were more likely than those reporting no such use to have worked for three or more employers in the past year (8.0% vs. 4.4%) and to have skipped one or more days of work in the past month (11.3% vs. 5.1%). 

Comparing full-time workers reporting no current illicit drug use in 1997 with those reporting no current illicit drug use in 1994, the percent who have skipped one or more days of work in the past month was 5.0 percent in 1997, lower than 6.0 percent in 1994.  

There were no significant difference found among heavy alcohol users in 1994 compared to heavy alcohol users in 1997 in percent reporting various workplace outcomes.
 

    Figure 3.1 Percent of Full-Time Workers, Age 18-49, Reporting Various Workplace Outcomes, by Current Illicit Drug Use and Heavy Alcohol Use, 1994 and 1997

    Worked for three or more employers in the past year

    Missed two or more days of work in the past month due to illness or injury

    Skipped one or more days of work in the past month

     

     

    Figure 3.2 Percent of Full-Time Workers, Age 18-49, Reporting Various Workplace Outcomes, by Current Illicit Drug Use and Heavy Alcohol Use, 1994 and 1997 (Continued)

    Voluntarily left an employer in the past year

    Fired by an employer in the past year

    Had a workplace accident in the past year

    Note: Heavy alcohol use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of at least five days during the previous 30 days.

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This page was last updated on December 30, 2008.