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Drug and Alcohol Use by Industry

DASA: Drug and Alcohol Use by Industry

The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), based in Flinders University in South Australia, issued a report “Alcohol and Other Drug Use: A Focus on Employed Australians” in June this year. It is a detailed, two-part report that makes use of National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) data to update patterns, prevalence and profiles of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other (illicit) Drugs use among Australian workers.

As stated in the report, “most Australians who use alcohol, tobacco and other (illicit) drugs (ATOD) are employed”, making workplaces an important prism through which to view ATOD data.

The report tells us that employed Australians were more likely to drink alcohol at risky levels and use illicit drugs compared to the broader Australian community.

But are some workplaces more likely than others to see drug and alcohol use among their employees?

Let’s take a look at what the report has to say about alcohol and illicit drug use by industry (based on 2019 data):

  • More than half of workers from the electricity, gas, water & waste services (57%) and construction (52%) industries consumed alcohol at risky levels.

  • Three of 19 industry groups had workers reporting illicit drug use above the national employed average of 19%. The arts & recreation services industry had the highest prevalence of any illicit drug use (35%), followed by the construction (26%) and accommodation & food services (26%) industries.

  • Cannabis use was above the national employed average among workers from: a) arts & recreation services (27%), b) information media and telecommunications (21%), c) accommodation & food services (20%), d) wholesale trade (20%) and e) construction (19%) industries.

  • Cocaine use was above the employed average of 6.2% in the following industries: a) Construction, b) accommodation & food services, and c) professional, scientific & technical services employees. In these industries, usage ranged from (9.2% to 11%).

  • Workers in the construction and accommodation & food services industries also reported the use of ecstasy (6.2-6.6%) and methamphetamine (3.4% each) above the employed national average (3.8% and 1.5%, respectively).

  • The retail trade industry was also above average for ecstasy use (6.3% vs 3.8%).

DASA has been assisting workplaces in the management of alcohol and other drugs for over 15 years. We have developed a range of quality education material that can help raise awareness and understanding of illicit drug use among your staff.

If your organisation recognises the importance of proactive alcohol and drug management, get in touch with us today on 1300 230 231 or visit our website


DASA (Drug and Alcohol Solutions Australia) is proud to be leading the way in workplace drug and alcohol testing services throughout Australia. Whether your need is for workplace drug and workplace alcohol testing, advice on drug and alcohol policy or ideas on how to communicate your workplace expectations, policies and procedures to your staff, DASA can help. We have the experience, technical expertise and people to lead you to the right solution.



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