Alcohol and other drugs at the workplace
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Prevalence by Occupation
The highest rates of current and past year illicit drug use are reported by workers in the following occupations: construction, food preparation, and waiters and waitresses. Heavy alcohol use followed a similar pattern, although auto mechanics, vehicle repairers, light truck drivers and labourers also have high rates of alcohol use.
The lowest rates of illicit drug use are found among workers in the following occupations: police and detectives, administrative support, teachers, and childcare workers. The lowest rates of heavy alcohol use are among data clerks, personnel specialists, and secretaries.
Individuals with drinking problems or alcoholism at any time in their lives suffered income reductions ranging from 1.5% to 18.7% depending on age and sex compared with those with no such diagnosis.
Absenteeism among alcoholics or problem drinkers is 3.8 to 8.3 times greater than normal and up to 16 times greater among all employees with alcohol and other drug-related problems.18 Drug-using employees take three times as many sick benefits as other workers. They are five times more likely to file a worker's compensation claim.
Non-alcoholic members of alcoholics' families use ten times as much sick leave as members of families in which alcoholism is not present.
Employee Assistance Programmes
- For every dollar invested in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), employers generally save anywhere from $5-$16. The average annual cost for an EAP ranges from $12-$20 per employee.
- 45% of full-time employees who are not self-employed have access to an EAP provided by their employer but within a single year only 1.5% use an EAP because of alcohol or other drug-related problems.
- Studies suggest that employees who are pressured into treatment by their employers are slightly more likely to recover from their alcoholism and improve their performance than those who are not so pressured.
- Research indicates that alcoholism treatment can yield significant reductions in total health care costs and utilization for an alcoholic and his or her family.
'National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA): Main Findings 1997, 4199, p. 111. 2M Bernstein & JJ Mahoney, "Management Perspectives on Alcoholism: The Employer's Stake in Alcoholism Treatment," Occupational Medicine, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1989, pp. 223-232. 3TVV Magione, et. al., New Perspectives for Worksite Alcohol Strategies: Results from a Corporate Drinking Study, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., Boston, MA, 12/98, p. 1. 'Ibid., p.2. 5NIDA and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), "The Economic Cost of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, 1992 (preprint copy), 5/98, p. 5-1. 6US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) news release, 9/8/99. 'NIDA, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Race/Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status, and Drug Abuse 1991, 12/93, p. 19. 8NIAAA, Alcohol Health & Research
World (AHRW): Alcohol and the Workplace, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1992, p. 147. 9SAMHSA, Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and
Programs: Results from the 1994 and 1997 NHSDA, 9/99, p. 3. "NIAAA, AHRW, op,cit., p. 107. "Ibid. '2SAMHSA, Drug Use Among US
Workers: Prevalence and Trends by Occupation and Industry Categories, 5/96, p. 1. "Ibid. "Ibid. "Ibid. "NIAAA, Eighth Special Report
to US Congress on Alcohol and Health, 9/93, p. 256. "Bernstein & Mahoney, op,cit. "US Department of Labor (USDL), What Works:
Workplaces Without Drugs, 8/90, p. 3. 19TE Backer, Strategic Planning for Workplace Drug Abuse Programs, NIDA, 1987, p, 4.
20Bernstein & Mahoney, op.cit. 2IUSDL, op.cit., p. 17. 22NIAAA, AHRW, op.cit., p. 121. 23Ibid., p.132. 24HD Holder & JO Blose, "Alcoholism
Treatment and Total Health Care Utilization and Costs: A Four-Year Longitudinal Analysis of Federal Employees," Journal of the American Medical Association, No. 256, 1986, pp. 1456-1460.