Major study to understand workers’ substance use

High rates of alcohol and other drug use among Australian employees is associated with negative consequences in the workplace, including the effect on workers’ wellbeing and performance, and the duty of care afforded by employers.

Now a 12-month research project will establish a valuable understanding of the patterns, prevalence and related issues associated with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use among Australian workers / workplaces.

Funded by a $400,000 grant from the Australian Government Department of Health, the new research will be undertaken by Flinders University’s National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), based in the University’s College of Medicine and Public Health.

NCETA has a well-established reputation for its experience and knowledge in responding to workplace alcohol and drug related issues, including recently published research looking at the prevalence and predictors of construction workers’ use of cannabis, cocaine and meth/amphetamine; construction workers’ alcohol use, knowledge, perceptions of risk and workplace norms; and addressing the high staff turnover of non-government workers in the alcohol and drug treatment sector.

This new project will see the centre conduct in-depth analysis and research to determine:

  1. Patterns of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use by industry and occupation groups
  2. A profile of users and relationships between AOD use and socio-economic factors
  3. Predictors of risky workplace AOD use, and high AOD use among particular industry or occupation groups
  4. Consequences of patterns of use for workers and organisations
  5. Relationship between AOD use patterns and workplace policies across industries
  6. Intervention efficacy addressed through a systematic review (for example drug testing, worker education, online interventions, and other workplace-based interventions)
  7. New and emerging AOD issues impacting the workplace, such as the use of prescribed medications and the potential for interaction with other drug types

NCETA will then be progressing the findings to design and implement evidence-informed interventions, with a focus on at-risk groups such as young workers, people transitioning from school to work, and employees working in safety-critical industries.

Posted in