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Alcohol and other drug use among Belgian workers and job-related consequences
  1. Marie-Claire Lambrechts1,2,
  2. Lieve Vandersmissen3,
  3. Lode Godderis1,3
  1. 1 Centre for Environment and Health, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2 VAD, the Flemish centre of expertise on alcohol and other drugs, Brussels, Belgium
  3. 3 Knowledge, Information and Research, IDEWE vzw, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Mrs Marie-Claire Lambrechts, Environment and Health, KU Leuven, University of Leuven, B 3000 Leuven, Belgium; marieclaire.lambrechts{at}


Objectives This study aimed to obtain prevalence data on use of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) among Belgian workers, and to explore the associations between self-reported AOD use and job-related effects as experienced by workers, and the level of workers’ well-being, respectively.

Methods In this cross-sectional study (2016), 5367 workers filled out a questionnaire including validated instruments such as the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C). Job-related effects were defined as: being late at work, absenteeism, loss of productivity, injuries, conflicts with co-workers and sanctions by employers. Descriptive and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.

Results Based on AUDIT-C, 39.1% of last year drinkers had an indication of problem drinking. The odds of experienced job-related effects was 3.6 (CI 2.86 to 4.60) times larger than the odds among workers without this indication. This ratio decreased to 3.2 (CI 2.52 to 4.11), controlling for language, gender, family context, level of education and sector. Respondents who used illicit drugs more frequently (>once a month) also had an increased risk for experienced job-related effects (OR 5.8; CI 2.87 to 11.84). Having a low level of well-being increased the risk for job-related effects due to psychoactive medication (OR 2.3, CI 1.10 to 4.91).

Discussion In this study, self-reported AOD use was associated with short-term job-related effects. This suggests that an AOD policy in different sectors is needed with respect for the organisational culture. Its focus should lie on prevention and early detection of AOD problems, and on the mental health of workers. Attention is required for the non-medical use of prescription drugs.

  • alcohol and other drug use
  • job related effects
  • prevention
  • well-being

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  • Contributors M-CL, LV and LG participated in the design of the study and made the questionnaire. LV constructed the database for analysis. LV and M-CL performed the statistical analysis. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the results. M-CL wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version before submission.

  • Funding This research was financed by the Belgian Science Policy Office; the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment and the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue (Contract DR/00/60).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Social and Societal Ethics Committee (SMEC) of KU Leuven, University of Leuven (G-2015 09 316; 24 September 2015).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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