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Medical News & Perspectives
October 13, 1999

Illicit Drug Users Not Idle; Report Says 70% Go to Work

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JAMA. 1999;282(14):1320-1321. doi:10.1001/jama.282.14.1320-JMN1013-3-1

Washington—Drug abusers may be working alongside those who deplore the practice; they may sit at the next desk, chat with others at lunch, or share the road going home. The belief that most people who use illicit drugs are unemployed and concentrated in impoverished parts of inner cities is a myth. In 1997, 70% of the 6.3 million persons between the ages of 18 and 49 years who admitted using illicit drugs in the preceding month were full-time employees. This principal finding of the latest National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will disabuse many of their previous ideas.