Work-Related Alcohol and Drug Use: A Fit for Work Issue
In Australia, alcohol use is a daily part of many people’s lives. Although the use of illicit drugs is not as common, with only a small proportion of people regularly using these products, the number of people that have used these drugs at least once is reported to be increasing. The effects of both alcohol and illicit drug use during and outside of work hours can have a significant negative impact on workplace health, safety and productivity.
While there is empirical evidence on the public health consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, there is very little robust evidence on the deterrent effects of drug testing for either illicit drugs or alcohol in the workplace.
This lack of clear evidence of effectiveness of these programs makes developing sound policy more difficult. given the length of time people spend at work, the workplace is ideally situated to change attitudes and behaviours with regards to alcohol and drug abuse and a workplace policy should be developed in consultation with all members of the workplace.