It’s no secret that the American workforce is battling a serious problem with substance abuse and addiction. This is not only a concern for the employees but for the companies that employ them. When a worker has a substance abuse issue, there is more absenteeism, a greater chance of accidents and injuries, increased illness rates, and low morale.
In fact, drug use and related problems cause U.S. companies to lose billions of dollars each year in productivity. Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identifies some of the top industries with workers suffering from substance abuse. Specifically, industries that employ more males and young adults are likely to be at the top of the list. Other influencing factors are geography and wages.
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Physicians and Health Care Professionals
Approximately 10 percent of healthcare professionals have a substance abuse problem. In some cases, doctors and other healthcare staff are more likely to misuse prescription medication due to ease of access. The type of drugs used may vary depending on specialty. For example, alcohol is a drug of choice among many physicians, but diverting opioids has become common among some emergency department workers, anesthesiologists, and surgeons.
Lawyers and Substance Abuse
Practicing law can be fast-paced and stressful. This is particularly true for young lawyers who are facing significant student debt and a constrained labor market. Those factors could explain why 29 percent of lawyers in their first ten years of practice report excessive drinking behavior. The number shrinks to 21 percent in the second decade of practice, which is still excessive.
Hospitality and Food Service
Workers employed in hotels, restaurants, and bars use alcohol and drugs at much higher rates than the national average. These are not only high-stress environments, but they also tend to hire young workers at low wages. Between 2008 and 2012, 16.9 percent report having a past-year substance use disorder and 19.1 percent report past-month illicit drug use. There is no single drug that this group uses more than others, but a few that top the list include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and other stimulants.
Recreation, Arts, and Entertainment
Employees in the recreation, arts, and entertainment category might work as artists, musicians, athletes, at theaters, amusement parks, casinos, or museums. This category ranks second among past-month illicit drug use at 13.7 percent. While you see celebrities with substance abuse issues, these problems cut across all barriers due to workplace culture, long hours, and high-pressure environments.
Mining and Construction
Some of the highest rates of substance abuse are in the mining and construction industries. These are both heavily male-dominated industries that require long hours and hard manual labor. Miners, who can work two to three-week shifts, have the highest rate of past-month heavy alcohol use at 17.5 percent. Construction is just second to mining in past-month heavy alcohol use at 16.5 percent. Construction is also the number two industry for employees with a past-year substance use disorder at 14.3 percent.
Getting Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse is harmful no matter what your industry or line of work. Trying to hold down a job while battling a substance abuse issue is cheating both yourself and your employer. If you or any of your loved ones have an alcohol or drug use problem, compassionate and comprehensive substance abuse treatment is available. Contact The Recovery Village now to learn about admissions from one of our addiction specialists or to find out more about our substance abuse treatment programs.
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