Have decreases in young workers’ risky drinking resulted in an increase in illicit drug use?

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Issues addressed: Recent reductions in young people's risky alcohol use have been widely documented but have not been examined among employed youth. Young workers’ risky drinking may have corresponded with increased illicit drug use. This study investigated these issues. Methods: Secondary analyses were conducted for 15-24 year old Australian workers using nationally representative data from 2007 to 2016. Frequency analyses examined alcohol and illicit drug use, Z scores assessed differences over time, and logistic regression examined predictors of illicit drug use. Results: Risky drinking decreased significantly over time whilst low-risk drinking increased. This pattern was observed for both young workers and young employed illicit drug users. Whilst “any” illicit drug use did not change over time, methamphetamine use decreased, and cannabis and hallucinogen use increased. Drinking alcohol at risky levels (monthly) was associated with illicit drug use in 2016, as were being single and having high/very high levels of psychological distress. Conclusions: Risky drinking reductions over time have not corresponded with increased illicit drug use. Nonetheless, as risky drinking remains high among young workers, and is strongly associated with illicit drug use, it warrants concerted health promotion efforts that may also help minimise illicit drug use. So what?: Despite a reduction in young workers’ risky alcohol consumption, risky drinking is still high and may impact the health and safety of workers and the wider community. As risky drinking is strongly associated with illicit drug use, workplaces could potentially play a vital role in combating alcohol and illicit drug misuse.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
    DOIs
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Dec 2020

    Keywords

    • alcohol consumption
    • health behaviours
    • illicit drug use
    • workplaces

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