244707 Association between employment and illicit drug use among young adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, MPH , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
Manuel Ocasio, BA , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Tainya Clarke, MPH, MS , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
John D. Clark III, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Diana Kachan, BS , Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Frank C. Bandiera, MPH , Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Kristopher L. Arheart, EdD , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
David Lee, PhD , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
Noella Dietz, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Leonard Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Elizabeth Goodman, MD , Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
Frederick Zimmerman, PhD , Department of Health Services School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Carles Muntaner, MD, PhD , Center for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
John E. Lewis, PhD , Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Katherine E. McCollister, PhD , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
Sharon L. Christ, PhD , Purdue University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, West Lafayette, IN
Lora E. Fleming, MD, PhD , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - OHH Center and NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
OBJECTIVE: Illicit drug use that commences during young adulthood represents an important public health concern. The social, economic, and health consequences of illicit drug use in adolescence may persist throughout young adulthood and negatively impact employment opportunities. We examine the association between employment status, occupation type, and illicit drug use among U.S. young adults.

METHODS: We analyzed data on 1,009 U.S. adults ages 20-25 (representing an annual 5,119,332 young adults) participating in the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, who reported on their lifetime use of cocaine or street drugs (crack or freebase), employment status, occupation type, and socio-demographic characteristics.

RESULTS: The overall lifetime prevalence of cocaine or street drug use among U.S. young adults was 21.7%3.4; highest among males (12.71.9), non-Hispanic whites (13.72.9), those with a high school diploma or GED (7.91.4), unmarried (13.72.6), and those with an annual household income of less than $20,000 (8.12.5). Young adults employed as blue-collar workers (8.11.8), those with a job (14.73.1), those in Construction trades (23.71.2) and Health Service occupations (12.31.4) all had the highest proportion of workers reporting a lifetime prevalence of cocaine or street drug use. Employed young adults were significantly more likely 1.32 [1.01-1.98] (adjusted odds ratio [95% Confidence Interval]) to report lifetime use of cocaine or street drugs even after controlling for important socio-demographic characteristics, as compared to unemployed young adults.

CONCLUSION: The workplace may be utilized for illicit drug use educational interventions targeted toward high-risk employed young adults.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Epidemiology
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. List three demographic characteristics highly correlated with their lifetime use of cocaine or street drugs. 2. Discuss which top three occupations have the greatest proportion of U.S. young adults that report cocaine or street drug use. 3. Describe the relationship between employment and illicit drug use among U.S. young adults.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Youth at Work

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a doctoral degree in epidemiology and am board certified in Public Helath (CPH).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.