One in five US tech employees abuse pain relief drugs, reveals study

There is nothing wrong with bonding over a beer or two after work, but when it becomes too much, it is important to spot the warning signs of substance abuse and addiction, according to a new study.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Across all professional fields in the US, substance addiction can affect anyone, but are specific industries more at risk than others?

Some professions may require strenuous physical demands, however, and it appears substance abuse transcends these typically blue-collar industries and crosses into the white-collar world as well.

San Diego, Calif.-based provider of drug detox information and withdrawal guides Detox.net -- a subsidiary of America Addiction Centres looked at drug abuse data. This data came from the  National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2018, which found recurring patterns in specific industries across America.

The breakdown of data suggests issues are underlying the correlations between substance abuse and employment type.

One in five US Tech employees abuse pain relief drugs, reveals study zdnet

Across all industries in the US, almost one in 10 (8.76 percent) of all employees admit to engaging in illicit drug use. However, over 1 in 10 (11.4 percent) of workers in the Information Technology industry admit to having done so.

When broken down by type of substance, marijuana use is particularly high across all industries, averaging 53.1 percent overall. This suggests that cannabis use is not necessarily associated with specific types of employment, but has a far wider effect on the US workforce in general.

Nearly three out of five (58.01 percent) of Information Technology industry workers have used cannabis -- above the national average. This is not as high as the figure reported in the construction industry. These workers have the highest reported usage at 60 percent --  two out of three employees.

One in five US Tech employees abuse pain relief drugs, reveals study zdnet

Possibly the most disturbing insight from the data collected is the remarkably high percentage of employees who use pain relievers (such as opioids) for non-medical purposes. This is especially concerning given the easy availability of these substances.

Across all industries, it was found that 15.82 percent of all employees have abused pain relievers and almost one in five (19.53 percent) of Information Technology industry employees admit to abusing pain-relieving drugs for non-medical use.

The breakdown also discovered that 10.67 percent of all US employees had been classified with some substance use disorder. Across the IT industry, this figure is 10.34 percent. Almost one in 10, or 8.64 percent, of IT industry workers admit to being heavy drinkers

Detox.net spokesperson said: 

'It is clear that no industry is exempt from the struggles of substance addiction.  However, if your field of work is more prone to drug and alcohol abuse, it's of vital importance to recognize stress triggers to avoid falling into the trap of addiction.

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