New Solut. 2024 Feb 8:10482911241231523. doi: 10.1177/10482911241231523. Online ahead of print.
Background: This study, using a nationally representative dataset of the U.S. workforce, examines how punitive workplace drug policies relate to opioid use/misuse and psychological distress. Methods: The sample included adults aged ≥18 years who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and were employed in 2020. Hierarchical multivariate logistical models were constructed to address the research questions. Results: The weighted, design-based estimates indicate that of 147 831 081 workers, 3.38% reported misusing opioids in the last 12 months. Having a punitive workplace policy was associated with higher rates of opioid use/misuse among workers aged ≤ 34 compared to their same-aged counterparts in nonpunitive workplaces, and among workers identifying as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color who also experienced severe psychological distress the past year. Conclusion: Some employers may think drug testing policies are net-beneficial to worker well-being; these findings indicate such policies may interact in harmful ways with psychological distress.