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Monday, August 8, 2011

Commentary on Pidd et al. (2011): Booze and drugs on the job – zeroing in on the industries at risk

Viewers of the US television series Mad Men or the longrunning
UK show Eastenders will be keenly aware of the assumed normality of drinking at work. Are they typical of other work-places? Pidd et al.’s study [1] of drinking and drug consumption in the work-place in Australian settings gives us some very useful insights into where the major problems lie and how we might direct preventive efforts.

The study has three major strings to its bow. First, it focuses on consumption in the work-place (not just among the work-force), and secondly it cleverly uses secondary data from the National Drug Strategy Household survey using amuch larger sample than would otherwise be possible. Thirdly, for those interested in prevention of harm, it tells us where to prioritize our efforts. Based on this paper, it seems sensible to focus on certain high-risk industries such as hospitality and financial services much more than others, and to focus on the most prevalent consumption patterns, e.g. alcohol being consumed at much greater frequency than drugs.
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