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Drug use is widespread
Published Dec 20, 2007 1:32 AM
The “Mitchell report” on the impact of steroid use and performance
enhancement drugs inside Major League Baseball is flawed for many reasons,
especially its anti-union—meaning anti-player—and pro-owner content
NFL quarterback Brett Favre, carrying
a teammate, made public his addiction
to painkillers in 1996.
This report is only one piece within a larger societal epidemic inside of the
U.S.—widespread drug abuse and addiction, including alcoholism. A report
released this past July by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services
Administration—an agency under the auspices of the federal Department of
Health & Human Services —stated that one out of 12 full-time workers
acknowledged using “illegal” drugs within a month’s
Based on sample interviews with 40,000 civilian, non-institutionalized workers
in annual surveys from 2002 until 2004, the “Worker Substance Use and
Workplace Policies and Programs” report said there are more than 10
million workers who used “illegal” drugs. (oas.samhsa.gov)
According to this study, “illegal” drugs include marijuana or
hashish, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription drugs.
To put this number in a broader context, with 6 percent of the world’s
population, the U.S. accounts for 60 percent of the world’s
“illegal” drug market. (National Drug Task Force Journal)
The HHS states that the highest rate of workers within their statistics were
restaurant workers, at more than 17 percent, followed by construction workers
at more than 15 percent. In terms of age groups, younger workers between the
ages of 18 and 25 proved to be the most prevalent users of drugs.
There are more “illegal” drug abusers who are employed than
unemployed and more workers with a decent income who use these drugs compared
to those with a low income. Contrary to these facts, there are more people in
prison on misdemeanor drug convictions, a disproportionate number of them
Black, [email protected] and Native.
In a separate HHS survey on the impact of abuse of alcohol—a legal
drug—more than 10 million workers, or 8.8 percent, admitted to excessive
alcohol drinking within the same one month period.
This growing trend of drug and alcohol abuse is occurring at a time when there
is less drug treatment, including preventive programs, and more random drug
testing by the bosses. Close to 49 percent of full-time workers in this survey
said that their employers conducted testing for drug use. For those who test
positive, they are much more likely to face being fired than getting some kind
Drug use a result of capitalism
What all of these facts and figures fail to explain is that the fundamental
cause of this social epidemic lies in the capitalist system—that is, the
drive to make more and more profits through fierce competition.
As massive layoffs deepen, the downward spiral in workers’ wages and
benefits, speed-ups in the form of “employee performance” and
forced competition against other employees are wreaking havoc on the
workers’ mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Just as professional athletes increasingly turn to drugs to increase their
performance in the highly competitive sports arena, workers fretting over
whether the next paycheck will be their last many times turn to drugs to keep
their adrenalin going on the job or to ease their pain.
The bosses, who rule over the majority of the world’s economy, would
rather punish the workers for lost profits or markets—and it
doesn’t matter if it is the restaurant business or professional
sports—rather than on the capitalist system itself, which puts making
profits before meeting the needs of the people.
Drug and alcohol abuse will only become things of the past once everyone is
guaranteed a right to a job, health care, housing, education, recreation and
many more rights that can only be achieved under socialism.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
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