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Of the 16.6 million illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2002, 12.4 million (74.6 percent) were employed either full or part time.

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The highest rates of current drug use and heavy drinking are reported by white, non-Hispanic males, 18–25 years old, with less than a high school education.


In those occupations identified with the highest rates of drug information and policies in the workplace, employees reported significantly lower rates of current drug use and heavy drinking. Workplace safety is the most common reason given by employers for drug testing. In 1997, approximately 25% of workers reported having a drug testing policy in their workplaces.

Larger workforces were far more likely to have incorporated a comprehensive drug-free workplace program which has resulted in approximately 50% lower positive drug test rates, and 75% fewer self-reports of current drug use among workers compared to smaller worksites.

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Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, prominent addiction researchers, conclude drug dependence has much in common with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma, and should be insured, treated and evaluated in a like manner.

A listing of Federally sponsored resources to assist employers in implementing drug-free workplace programs.






Last Updated: March 22, 2004



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