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You are Here: Home > Blog > Drug-Free Work Week

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Employee Rights and Related Matters

Drug-Free Work Week

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

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.

For information about employee rights and common concerns regarding drug testing in the workplace, see the article Drug Testing in the Workplace. Consult an attorney for legal advice.

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