The majority of people who suffer from an addiction are not living on the streets. Most addicts have a steady job and regular pay, according to Darryl S. Inaba, PharmD., a substance abuse expert in the Pacific Northwest.
Some jobs offer access to drugs and alcohol, which is difficult to resist when combined with a stressful occupation. Some place workers in demanding situations for lower pay with minimal drug testing. Still others have a party-like atmosphere where peer pressure flows as freely as alcohol.
Substance abuse in the workplace is a common theme. Here are the top industries where drugs and alcohol can evolve into an addiction over time.
Sales Professionals May Suffer from Stress and Depression
The life of a sales person is filled with stress and rejection. For every sale, there may be several attempts and lots of legwork. It stands to reason that depression and sales often go hand in hand. They’re “common components” of the sales profession.
Retail, in particular, has a high incidence of substance abuse. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 9 percent of sales workers have an alcohol abuse problem and 10.3 percent abuse illicit drugs.
Law Enforcement Combines Danger, Risk, and PTSD
It is no mystery that law enforcement is one of the most dangerous, high-stress, and sometimes traumatic jobs imaginable. Those in law enforcemt also have access to confiscated drugs and the ability to skim from them. So it is also no wonder that people in law enforcement have a higher rate of substance abuse.
Law Enforcement Today says substance abuse and addiction ranks at about 25 percent in their community. That is significantly higher than most other occupations the United States, with work-related PTSD considered one of the leading causes.
Health Care Jobs Give Easier Access to Certain Drugs
Nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals often work long hours in close proximity to prescription drugs. Stress, work demands, and access can be a risky combination that leads to drug addiction. Knowledge about prescription drugs may also give workers a false sense of security about experimentation.
Modern Medicine Network says about one in 10 nurses has a drug addiction. Further, health professionals tend to have a lower rate of self-reporting because of the risk of job loss.
Construction Workers Face Danger, Long Hours, and Physical Demands
Construction workers need strength and stamina, and may work for lower pay. Stress and the demands of the job cause many construction workers to develop a substance abuse problem at some point in their career.
Additionally, Business Insider says some construction companies only drug test employees after an on-site incident, such as an accident or injury. SAMHSA ranks construction near the top of the list with 14.3 percent of workers in this industry suffering from an addiction.
Restaurants Expose Workers to Alcohol and Low Drug Testing Rates
Restaurant workers are exposed to alcohol in a friendly environment that encourages drinking. The Sober Sous Chef calls it “a fun and exciting environment” where there is regular cash, peer pressure, and an employee base that is known for weaving drugs and alcohol into their social life.
SAHMSA explains that the highest rates of illicit drug use, in particular, and substance abuse, in general, was found in the services industries that include restaurant workers. Nearly 20 percent of all workers in accommodations and food service were found to suffer from substance abuse.
The familiar imagery of an unemployed addict on the streets does not tell the whole story. According to Inaba, about 75 percent of people with a substance abuse issue earn a living at a steady, respectable job. Certain triggers, such as heightened access, stress, and peer pressure appear to increase the odds of drug and alcohol abuse. But regardless of the cause, there is help and hope with caring professionals.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction, contact us today and find the road to recovery.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.