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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 and tone.

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 period.

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 of treatment.

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.