Alcohol and other drugs in the workplace: A focus on employed Australians - report 1

April 2023
McEntee, A., Pointer, S., Pincombe, A., Nicholas, R. and Bowden, J. (2022). Alcohol and other drug use: A focus on employed Australians: Part 1: Prevalence and consequences. Adelaide, South Australia: National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute (FHMRI), Flinders University.

NCETA will soon be releasing two reports from a large body of work undertaken to examine the impact of alcohol and other drugs on Australian workplaces and the current state of research regarding approaches to prevent and minimise associated harms.

Report 1 provides updated patterns, prevalence and profiles of alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use among Australian workers using the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) datasets. The report contains a comparison of employed Australians and the general population and focusses on ATOD use among different industry and occupation groups. The consequences of different types of ATOD use are also examined, including absenteeism and workers being placed in fear by workplace intoxicated behaviour.

Alcohol and other drug related absenteeism remains a major cost to the Australian economy. Alcohol-related absenteeism was foremost in this regard ($3.9 billion). Illicit drug-related absenteeism cost $2.9 billion.  

The report recommended that the construction industry and trade occupation groups implement targeted interventions to reduce ATOD use and its associated harms.