Impact of substance use on the Australian workforce

Peter Gates, Rachel Grove, Jan Copeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: To determine the prevalence of substance use and related problems in the Australian workplace. Methods: We investigated two waves of data from a large nationally representative survey including descriptive and weighted comparative analyses. Measurements included workplace substance use, working under the influence of a substance in the past year, past 90 day substance-related absenteeism and past year workplace abuse. Results: Despite overall increases in substance use at a population level, workplace problems relating to substance use either remained stable across 2007 and 2010 (drug-related absenteeism [0.5%], alcohol related absenteeism [just over 2%], going to work under the influence of alcohol or an illicit drug [approximately 6% and 5%, respectively]) or reduced (reports of workplace abuse [3.6% reduced to 2.2%; p<0.001]. Workplace substance use problems were elevated among those in the hospitality and construction industries. In contrast, those in education and training, agriculture industries and in managerial and professional occupations were at lesser risk of many workplace problems. Conclusions and implications: Workplace substance problems are not uniform across sectors. Public health initiatives targeting workplace substance-related problems will be improved by narrowing the target by worker industry and occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6
JournalJournal of Addiction and Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • workforce
  • workplace
  • employee
  • alcohol
  • drugs
  • intoxication
  • abuse
  • absenteeism


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of substance use on the Australian workforce'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this