Survey shows one in 12 U.S. workers use illegal drugs

According to, a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, which is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports that one in 12 full-time U.S. workers say they have used illicit drugs during the past month.

The highest usage rates were among restaurant workers (17.4 percent) and construction workers (15.1 percent), and the lowest usage rates were among teachers and social service workers (4 percent), according to the study. Most of the illegal drug use involved marijuana.

The information came from the agency's surveys in 2002, 2003 and 2004; each survey included interviews with more than 40,000 people. Although the current usage rate is 8.2 percent, previous usage rates of 7.6 percent in 1994 and 7.7 percent in 1997 came from studies that had a significantly smaller sample of interviews.

The survey showed that younger workers were more likely to use illegal drugs, which were used by 19 percent of workers age 18 to 25; 10.3 percent of workers age 26 to 34; 7 percent of workers age 35 to 49; and 2.6 percent of workers age 50 to 64. In addition, two-thirds of workers who admitted to using illegal drugs were men, who were also more likely than women to report using illegal drugs.

Additionally, the survey showed that drug-testing programs are used in many companies—48.8 percent of workers reported their employers conduct drug testing.

Alcohol use by workers also was addressed in the study. About 8.8 percent of workers (or 10.1 million workers) reported heavy alcohol use, which is drinking five or more drinks on one occasion at least five times during the past 30 days.

Date : 7/17/2007