Data from the SAMHSA study for the 2008-2012 periods indicated that an annual average of 8.7% of full-time workers in the 18-64 age range used alcohol heavily in the past month, 8.6% used illicit drugs in the past month, and 9.5% were dependent on or abused alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year.
Demographics play a role in the data. Prior research shows heavy alcohol use and illicit drug use are more common among males and younger workers (through age 34), than among females and older workers (age 35 and above). Industries with younger, predominantly male workers thus were found to have higher alcohol and drug use rates. However, researchers reported no discernible trend toward increased or decreased substance use in the data for this period compared to that for 2003 through 2007.
SAMHSA observed: “An effective substance abuse testing policy may help employers reduce the incidences of drug and alcohol abuse in their workplaces.