Alcohol and drug use among staff at licensed premises in Norway

Scand J Public Health. 2019 Jun;47(4):393-399. doi: 10.1177/1403494818761417. Epub 2018 Mar 8.


Aims: There is increased concern about the use of alcohol and illicit drugs in nightlife settings. Most studies of substance use in nightlife settings are from the patrons' perspective, which leaves an understudied population - the nightclub staff. The aim of this paper is to study self-reported alcohol and substance use among staff at licensed premises in Norway: types of illicit drugs used, attitudes towards drugs, and observed drug use among patrons.

Methods: A survey was conducted at server-training courses in 20 different cities in Norway during 2015. The survey included: demographics, respondents' own alcohol and drug experience, attitudes towards drug use, and observed drug use among patrons at licensed premises.

Results: Data were collected from 912 staff working at licensed premises. A majority reported alcohol use in the past year, and 61% reported alcohol use two or more times a month. Overall, 45% of the respondents reported ever-used of illicit drugs. The four most commonly used drugs among staff were cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy/MDMA, and amphetamine. The majority of respondents supported Norway's strict drug laws, and 63% reported observing drug-intoxicated patrons at licensed premises during the past six months.

Conclusions: The proportion of frequent drinkers and heavy episodic drinking among staff at licensed premises was high, and the prevalence of illicit drug use was much higher compared with the general population. Thus, staff at licensed premises can be considered a risk-group for alcohol and illicit drug use and therefore represent an important target population in club drug-prevention programmes.

Keywords: Alcohol use; club drugs; illicit drug use; licensed premises; nightlife; self-report; serving staff.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Licensure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Restaurants / organization & administration
  • Self Report
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Illicit Drugs