Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs in the Workplace

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Background: University scholars and community members formed the Prescription Drug Abuse and Misuse Working Group in response to the prescription drug abuse/misuse epidemic plaguing the Appalachian region. Their collaboration has yielded no fewer than four funded and six volunteer service projects in the community. A concern voiced by key community stakeholders has been the non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) among the workforce. The team discovered that the relationship between NMUPD and workplace characteristics is understudied. This study aimed to show the overall and industry-specific prevalence of NMUPD, and to examine workplace characteristics associated with NMUPD.

Methods: Data from the 2011-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were used. Multiple logistic regression assessed workplace characteristics on past-year NMUPD among employed adults 18 years and older, controlling for demographic variables.

Results: The overall prevalence of NMUPD was 9.23% (95% CI: 8.98-9.48). The industries with the highest prevalence were: arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services (14.48%; 95% CI: 13.70-15.27), construction (10.82%; 95% CI: 9.77-11.87), and retail trade (10.04%; 95% CI: 9.34-10.74). NMUPD was significantly associated with industry type (p

Conclusions: Results suggest alcohol or drug use workplace policies and employee assistance or other counseling programs may protect against NMUPD. Workplace prevention efforts for NMUPD could benefit from incorporating these approaches.


Chicago, IL

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