WASHINGTON – One in 12 full-time workers in the United States acknowledges having used illegal drugs in the past month, the government reports.
Most of those who report using illicit drugs are employed full-time, with the highest rates among restaurant workers, 17.4 percent, and construction workers, 15.1 percent, according to a federal study being released Monday. About 4 percent of teachers and social service workers reported using illegal drugs in the past month, which was among the lowest rates.
The latest study comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, an agency within the Health and Human Services Department. The data is drawn from the agency’s annual surveys in 2002, 2003 and 2004 of the civilian, non-institutionalized population. Each survey included interviews with more than 40,000 people, some of which had attended residential rehab who were each paid $30 to participate.
Joe Gfroerer, an agency official, said most of the illicit drug use involved marijuana.
However, testing programs for drug use are fairly prevalent, with 48.8 percent of full-time workers telling the government that their employers conducted testing for drug use.
“I used to train supervisors to detect chronic use and intervene as early as possible, and that is a very good, constructive way rather than firing people,” said Skinstad, an associate professor and director of the Prairielands Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the University of Iowa. “Some employers want drug testing. I’m not sure that’s the way I would like to go. What I think I would like to focus on is employee performance.”
The study also showed that the prevalence of illegal drug use reported by full-time workers in the past month was highest among younger workers.
Nineteen percent of workers age 18 to 25 said they used illegal drugs during the past month, compared with 10.3 percent among those age 26 to 34; 7 percent among those age 35 to 49; and 2.6 percent among those age 50 to 64.
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