Racial/ethnic differences in report of drug testing practices at the workplace level in the U.S

Am J Addict. 2014 Jul-Aug;23(4):357-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2013.12109.x. Epub 2013 Sep 24.


Background and objectives: It is unknown whether racial/ethnic differences in report of workplace drug testing persist when analyzed within and across various occupations. We sought to examine the association between worker demographics, workplace characteristics, and report of employment in a workplace that performs drug testing.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of the 2008-2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health examining the relationship between race/ethnicity and report of workplace drug testing among employed, white, black, or Hispanic respondents ≥18 years old. In logistic regression analysis, we adjusted for demographic, occupational, and other relevant variables and performed stratified analyses among three specific occupations.

Results: Among 69,163 respondents, 48.2% reported employment in a workplace that performs drug testing. On multivariable analysis, younger age, male sex, black race, income greater than $20,000, completion of high school and non-urban residence were associated with report of drug testing at one's workplace among the full sample as were non-white collar occupation, work in medium or large workplace, and absence of other substance abuse/dependence. In stratified analyses, black race was associated with report of workplace level drug testing among executive/administrative/managerial/financial workers and technicians/related support occupations; Hispanic ethnicity was associated with the outcome among technicians/related support occupations.

Conclusions: Racial/ethnic differences in report of workplace drug testing exist within and across various occupations. These differences have important public health implications deserving further study.

Scientific significance: Increased report of drug testing where racial/ethnic minorities work highlights the potential bias that can be introduced when drug testing policies are not implemented in a universal fashion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Educational Status
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • Prejudice / statistics & numerical data
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance Abuse Detection / statistics & numerical data*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult