Food service workers and construction workers have the highest prevalence of illicit drug use, according to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).
The study looked at current drug use among 21 major occupational groups from 2002 through 2004. The study found that an annual average of approximately 9.4 million current illicit drug users and 10.1 million heavy alcohol users were employed full-time during that period.
The study found that current drug users were more likely to work for employers that didn't conduct drug or alcohol testing programs. Nearly a third of current illicit drug users said they would be less likely to work for employers that conducted random drug testing.
The occupational groups with the highest prevalence of current drug use among full-time workers were:
- Food preparation and serving (17.4 percent)
- Construction (15.1 percent)
- Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (12.4 percent)
- Sales (9.6 percent)
- Installation, maintenance, and repair (9.5 percent)
The occupational groups with the lowest prevalence of current drug use among full-time workers were:
- Protective service (3.4 percent)
- Community and social services (4.0 percent)
- Education, training, and library (4.1 percent)
- Legal (4.8 percent)
- Financial (4.9 percent)
The study found the highest rates of current heavy alcohol use among construction, mining, excavation and drilling workers (17.8 percent), and installation, maintenance, and repair workers (14.7 percent).