Drug and Alcohol Use at Work: A Survey of Young Workers

By Gleason, Philip M.; Veum, Jonathan R. et al. | Monthly Labor Review, August 1991 | Go to article overview

Drug and Alcohol Use at Work: A Survey of Young Workers


Gleason, Philip M., Veum, Jonathan R., Pergamit, Michael R., Monthly Labor Review


Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth reveal that drug and alcohol use in the workplace is more common among men than women and among blue-collar than white-collar workers Philip M. Gleason is a former intern in the Office of Economic Research, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jonathan R. Veum and Michael R. Pergamit are economists in the same office.

The incidence of drug use on the job among U.S. workers aged 19 to 27 was 7.0 percent in 1984, according to data from the 1984 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. White men aged 19 to 23 reported the highest incidence of workplace drug use. Reported drug use is higher among men than women, among whites than minorities, and among workers aged 19 to 23 than those aged 24 to 27. Blue-collar workers have higher rates of drug use than white-collar workers. Also, drug use is most common among young workers in entertainment/recreation and construction industries, and least common among those in professional services and public administration industries. When each industry is classified by occupation, data show that transportation industry operatives have a relatively high rate of workplace drug use. This is notable in light of recent tragic accidents in the transportation industry attributed to the use of drugs.

Drug and alcohol use in the workplace has been a particular concern to employers and consumers who fear that workers who engage in this type of activity on the job are less productive, more likely to steal, and more likely to cause accidents than workers who do not use drugs or drink on the job. For these reasons, drug use in the workplace cost employers an estimated $16.4 billion in 1981.(1)

In response to this problem, a large number of firms have developed Employee Assistance Programs which attempt to identify and provide treatment to workers with drug and alcohol problems. These programs have become more prevalent; the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in 1988, 30 percent of all workers had access to Employee Assistance Programs. Also, approximately 20 percent of all workers were employed by firms which had drug testing policies.(2)

Despite the severity of the problem and the growing concern among employers and society about the adverse consequences of drug use, there has been little research dealing with work-related drug use, primarily because very few data sets provide information on both an individual's drug usage and work activity. Some research identifies drug users by job category, but to date, there have been no studies examining drug use in the workplace.(3)

The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth is an ongoing study of the labor market experiences of individuals born between 1957 and 1964 and contains an overrepresentation of blacks, Hispanics, and economically disadvantaged whites.(4) Sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this survey has been conducted annually since 1979.(5) The original sample size was 12,686; in the 1984 survey, 12,069 persons were still being interviewed.

For the first time, the 1984 youth survey asked participants if they had used drugs or felt high during work or break time within the past year. The specific drugs mentioned included marijuana, hashish, nonprescription amphetamines, stimulants, nonprescription barbiturates, sedatives or tranquilizers, psychedelics, cocaine, heroin or other narcotics, and inhalants. Questions about alcohol use were included in each survey from 1982 through 1985.(6) participants were asked whether drinking has ever interfered with their work on a job, as well as specific questions about the effects of alcohol on their work behavior.

This article, based on the unique data on drug use available from the 1984 youth survey, describes patterns of drug and alcohol use among young workers.(7) The rates of workplace drug use among these workers in different age, sex, and race groups as well as in different industry and occupational classifications are also examined.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Drug and Alcohol Use at Work: A Survey of Young Workers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.