A study published in the October issue of the
Southern Economic Journal
finds that casual drug users and those who do not use drugs have a similar ability to secure employment and stay in the workforce.
The study was funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It examined a nationally representative working-age sample of about 4,000 men and 5,700 women.
The study also confirms that chronic drug users – those who use one or more illegal drugs at least once a week – have higher rates of workplace absenteeism and accidents.
The researchers point out that the study in no way endorses casual drug use. However, they believe the results suggest employers would see a bigger economic payoff if they focused their employee assistance and drug testing programs on chronic, rather than casual, drug users.