250,000 SA workers on drugs at work
NEARLY one in five South
Australian employees is using illegal drugs, a new
study has found.
AdelaideNow, August 6, 2006
The extent of illegal
drug use by workers has been revealed in a study by
the National Centre for Education and Training on
Addiction at Flinders University.
The research, which
is yet to be published, found 17 per cent of all
Australian employees were illegal drug users, with
more than 250,000 taking drugs while at work.
industries, cannabis was the drug of choice,
followed by amphetamines, ecstasy, painkillers and
The study was based
on the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey
of 30,000 Australians.
It found hospitality
workers were the heaviest users of illegal drugs,
with 31 per cent admitting using drugs outside of
work hours in the previous year.
were the second heaviest users (24.1 per cent),
followed by retail workers (20.7 per cent).
Those most likely to
take illegal drugs while on the job were hospitality
workers (7.7 per cent), followed by construction
(4.2 per cent) and transport (3.2 per cent).
Drug users were most
likely to be aged 18-29 (5.9 per cent) or 14-17 (4.5
Council on Drugs chairman, Dr John Herron, said the
results were "frightening and staggering".
"It is very bad for
the Australian population that we have so many
taking drugs as part of their daily routine," he
"It does not surprise
me that these figures have been produced."
Dr Herron said
employees who took drugs placed themselves and
others at risk.
He said there needed
to be a large-scale education program about the
dangers of drugs.
Study co-author Dr
Ken Pidd said that the true extent of the problem in
workplaces may be worse than reported because some
respondents may not have admitted to drug use.
"Because we haven't
collected any information on this before, we don't
really know if it's worse or not," Dr Pidd said.
"It was a