Pubdate: 8 Sep 1999
Source: Capital Times, The (WI)
Copyright: 1999 The Capital Times


WASHINGTON (AP) -- About 8 percent of full-time workers -- or 6.3 million
Americans -- have used illegal drugs in the last month, the government
reported today. Workers in restaurants, bars, construction and
transportation were more likely than others to use drugs.

Nationwide, seven in 10 drug users were full-time workers in 1997,
according to a new report that officials hope will dispel notions that most
drug users are burned out and disconnected from the mainstream.

``The typical drug user is not poor and unemployed,'' Barry McCaffrey, the
White House drug policy director, said a statement. ``He or she can be a
co-worker, a husband or wife, a parent.''

The report, issued every few years by the Department of Health and Human
Services, found 7.7 percent of workers aged 18 to 49 had used illegal drugs
in the past month, a figure that has been steady since 1992.

HHS officials were using the report's findings to encourage businesses to
establish treatment programs. Increasingly, drug users are working in
medium-sized companies, which have the resources to establish these
programs, they said. Still, 44 percent of drug users were working for small
businesses -- those with fewer than 25 employees, down from 57 percent in
1994 but still the largest category.

``Whether you are corporate CEO or a small business owner, you need to know
that simple, low-burden, effective steps ... can increase workplace safety
and productivity and lower substance abuse and its human and economic
effects,'' said a statement by Nelba Chavez, administrator of the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the HHS agency that
produced the report. 
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MAP posted-by: Mike Gogulski