The percentage of full-time employee (FTE) U.S. workers who engaged in illicit drug (including marijuana) use on a monthly basis showed a notable increase over the previous year, while the percentage of FTEs who abuse alcohol on a monthly basis declined, according to the recently released annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (“Survey”) data. The percentage of FTEs engaging in illicit drug use is the highest in at least 10 years. The Survey covers 2016, the most recent year available.

Employment status – full-time, part-time, or unemployed – is an important factor impacting the likelihood of Survey respondents to engage in illicit drug use, alcohol abuse, or both, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual Survey. In addition to employment status, the survey also breaks down the collected data into demographic comparisons by gender, race/ethnicity, and education level.

The percentage increase in illicit drug use, especially with respect to marijuana, which remains an illegal drug under federal law, very likely reflects marijuana’s increasing social acceptance at the state level, where more than half the states now permit marijuana use for recreational and/or medical purposes.

The 2016 Survey results are available here  and additional “Detailed Statistical Tables” are available here.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.