An alarming number of full-time employees who work in various industries have struggled with a substance abuse problem in the past year, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The report, released April 16 and dubbed “Substance Use and Substance Use Disorder, by Industry,” shows that 9.5% of workers ages 18 to 64 have experienced a recent substance abuse disorder. Approximately 8.7% of full-time workers heavily abused alcohol in the past month, the report found. Heavy drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion one five or more days during the month, the report states.
Researchers used data from nationwide surveys of 215,900 adults —111,500 who were employed full time. The report is based on data from combined 2008 to 2012 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports. Employees who work 35 or more hours a week are considered full-time workers, according to the report.
“Substance use issues pose an enormous risk to the health, safety and productivity of American workers,” SAMHSA’s Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an administration news release. “Every segment of the community needs to help tackle this problem, including employers. By developing and actively promoting workplace programs such as Employee Assistance Programs for helping employees deal with substance use problems, employers can significantly improve the health, well-being and productivity of their employees.”
The report also shows variations in levels of substance abuse and dependency in the 19 major categories examined by researchers. Workers in the mining industry had the highest rate of heavy alcohol use the past month with 17.4%, versus healthcare and social assistant workers at 4.4%, the report said. Construction workers had the second highest rate of past-month heavy alcohol use, according to the report.
The report also showed a 19.1% rate of past-month drug use among fast food services industry employees and a 4.3% rate among public administration industry workers. Workers in arts, entertainment and recreation jobs had the second highest rate of past-month illicit drug use, according to the report.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health tracks data on substance use, dependence or abuse. Illicit drugs are defined by the survey as marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin or prescription-type drugs used for non-medical reasons.
To comment, email [email protected]