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Statistics for Substance Abuse in the Tech Industry

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Priscilla Henson, MD
Dr. Priscilla Henson is a Resident Physician specializing in Emergency Medicine at a community hospital in central California. She also serves as a member of the Pain Management Quality Improvement Committee through the same hospital. Part of the committee’s mandate is to work toward non-narcotic pain management alternatives.
Statistics for Substance Abuse in the Tech IndustryInformation Technology trained professionals are constantly dealing with pressure from co-workers or clients who have complaints and tech-related service requests. The industry-wide misunderstanding of tech specialties and who knows what can make life difficult for IT workers.

That paired with the highly competitive nature and long, strange hours they work leave many feeling stressed in their position. This is one of the many factors that play into the fact that about 9.8% (almost one out of ten) people are struggling with substance abuse in the tech industry.1

Alcohol Addiction Statistics

More than 7% of adults in America struggle with alcohol abuse, but tech workers eclipse that number. Nearly one out of every ten IT professionals (8.64%) have been identified as problem drinkers.1 While it isn’t the highest statistic of substance abuse plaguing this industry, the issues that stem from this high drinking rate negatively affect both the individual and the company they work for.

And though struggles with heavy drinking have fallen slightly over the past decade, it is still a consistent issue. Anywhere from 40-60% who are able to recover end up relapsing, which is why supporting these individuals must be a priority for the rest of their lives.1

Prescription Drug Statistics

Across the entire working class of America, more than 16% of employees have had problems with prescription drug abuse. And similar to alcohol numbers, painkillers substance abuse in the tech industry is higher than the overall average. With a rate of 19.53% of tech professionals abusing opioids, nearly one in five have an issue with pills like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and others.

Addiction to prescription drugs often arise from high levels of stress, anxiety, or even depression brought on by the weight of their job. They resort to pills to calm down, sleep, and potentially get more energy, depending on the specific drug.

Statistics on Substance Abuse and Addiction in the Tech Industry

Illicit Drug Statistics

The use of illicit drugs in the tech industry has slowly risen year after year over the past decade and a half. Almost 12% of IT industry workers have used illegal substances, and that’s only the individuals who have admitted to it. Some of the biggest problems are related to dangerous drugs like heroin and meth.

Another common drug that has grown more popular within the Information Technology world is marijuana, which has about three out of five employees using it for recreational purposes.

Substance Abuse in the Tech Industry

Technology is a booming industry. Companies are rising quickly and constantly learning to adapt as advancements rapidly change. With the ever-changing industry and ability to rise quickly to the top, substance abuse is prevalent in the tech culture.

Treatment for Substance Abuse in the Tech Industry

These statistics show there is a growing concern within the IT field for drug use and alcohol addiction. Do you know someone who has issues with substance abuse in the tech industry? Now is the time to help them find the assistance they need to overcome these issues.

Treatment is often available through work employee programs offering services like therapy or rehab. It is always recommended to seek out professional help from an official treatment center for the best tactics and assistance with both drugs and alcohol abuse.

Sources:

  1. Bush, Donna M. Ph.D. and Lipari, Rachel N. Ph.D. April 16, 2015. SUBSTANCE USE AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER BY INDUSTRY.
Last Updated on February 19, 2020
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american addiction centers photo
Priscilla Henson, MD
Dr. Priscilla Henson is a Resident Physician specializing in Emergency Medicine at a community hospital in central California. She also serves as a member of the Pain Management Quality Improvement Committee through the same hospital. Part of the committee’s mandate is to work toward non-narcotic pain management alternatives.
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