Note: The following statistics should not be attributed to the U.S. Department of Labor, but rather their respective footnoted sources listed at the bottom of the page.
Almost every aspect of our lives is touched in some way by the construction industry, and America's builders enjoy a long and rich history of designing and erecting landmarks recognizable the world over. Clearly, construction workers who abuse alcohol and other drugs are dangerous not only to themselves, but also to their colleagues and the general public. Safety in the construction industry is paramount, and for this reason many construction firms across the country are challenging themselves to build better workforces by proactively addressing workplace substance abuse and diminishing its potentially disastrous consequences.
A Federal government survey revealed that the construction industry has some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse. Among full-time construction workers between the ages of 18 and 49:
- More than 12 percent report illicit drug use during the past 30 days.
- Almost 21 percent report illicit drug use during the past year.
- Approximately 13 percent admit to heavy alcohol use.1
Rates of substance abuse among different types of personnel within the construction industry are as follows:2
Current Illicit Drug Use (%)
Past Year Illicit Drug Use (%)
Current Heavy Alcohol Use (%)
Other Construction Workers
The good news is that more and more construction companies, ranging from large international corporations to relatively small local contractors, are implementing drug-free workplace programs as a way to ensure productive workforces and safe workplaces — company features that ultimately result in increased profitability and success.
1 Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (1996). Drug Use Among US Workers: Prevalence and Trends by Occupation and Industry Categories. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services.