The U.S. Department of Labor’s third annual Drug-Free Work Week initiative will take place October 20-26, 2008.
Drug-Free Work Week is designed to educate employers, employees and the general public about the importance of drug-free employees as an essential component of a safe and healthful workplace.
Elena Carr, Drug Policy Coordinator at the Department of Labor, put it this way:
“Drug-Free Work Week is a good time to remind employers and employees that reducing workplace substance abuse is a crucial part of keeping workers safe. Of course, in a safe and healthful workplace, every week should be drug free.”
According to 2002-2003 study by the Research Institute on Addictions, New York University at Buffalo, which involved 2,829 employed participants of age 18 to 65:
- An estimated 14 percent of employed adults (17.7 million workers) used illicit drugs in the 12 months preceding the study.
- An estimated three percent of employed adults (3.9 million workers) used illicit drugs in the workplace.
- Among those individuals who used illicit drugs at work, 56 percent (1.8 percent of the total U.S. workforce) did so at least once per week.
- Illicit drug use was higher among men than women, and higher among younger workers compared to older workers.
- The strongest and most consistent connection to illicit drug use in the workforce was occupation. High-risk occupations identified for illicit drug use were the arts, entertainment, sports, and media occupations; and food preparation and serving occupations.
To encourage and help employers and employees participate in Drug-Free Work Week, the Department of Labor provides tools and information at Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace.