Addiction Puts a Successful Career at Risk

Depressed Construction Engineer
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Though the stereotyping of addiction has led many to believe that drug addiction and alcohol addiction only affect people who are impoverished, unemployed, and generally down on their luck, the truth is that addiction can affect anyone, no matter their social or financial status. And no matter one’s achievements, position, career, background, or current standing in life, addiction WILL bring it all crashing down around them unless they get help.

Addiction ends careers, even successful careers that one spent years creating. That’s why it is so important for working professionals to seek treatment BEFORE their addiction ruins the job they’ve worked so hard to create.

Statistics—Addiction in the Workforce

While unemployed adults are more likely than employed adults to struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, addiction is not nonexistent in the workforce. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 10.8 million full-time workers are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Another 3.3 million individuals are engaged in part-time work while also being addicted to substances.

In a country of almost 340 million people, that may not seem like a steep number. But the U.S. workforce is only about 155 million strong. That means about one in every 15 American employees is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

According to the SAMHSA research, about 55% of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are employed full time. Comparatively, only about 5.5 million addicts are unemployed.

Addiction by Career

An addiction to drugs and alcohol will always put one's career at risk. Furthermore, no addict can hide their drug abuse or alcohol abuse for long. Sooner or later, their addiction will cost them their job.

A common question regarding addiction and careers, “Are some careers more prone to substance abuse among workers than others?” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a report that indicated which careers are affected most by drug abuse and which are affected most by alcohol abuse.

The following careers are also coincidentally either high-stress jobs, low-paying, physically challenging, or potentially hazardous work.

For careers with a high propensity towards alcohol abuse among workers:

  • Mining. About 17.5% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Construction. About 16.5% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Accommodations and food services. About 11.8% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation. About 11.5% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Utilities. About 10.3% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Wholesale trade. About 10.2% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Management. About 9.9% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Manufacturing. About 9.7% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. About 9.4% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Retail trade. About 9% of workers suffer from alcohol abuse.
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For careers with a high propensity towards drug abuse among workers:

  • Accommodations and food services. About 19.1% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation. About 13.7% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Management. About 12.1% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Information. About 11.7% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Construction. About 11.6% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Other services. About 11.2% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Real estate, rental, and leasing. About 10.9% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Retail trade. About 10.3% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services. About 9% of workers misuse drugs.
  • Wholesale trade. About 7.8% of workers misuse drugs.

When workers use drugs and alcohol, it’s not just the workers who suffer. The businesses and the economy as a whole suffer too. When employees use drugs and alcohol, businesses lose productivity, workplace accidents occur, absent employees slow production, low morale crops up, and sick days become more prevalent.

U.S. companies lose billions of dollars each year just in lost productivity alone, not to mention covering collateral damage or medical bills for addicted workers.

Seek Treatment—Save Your Career

When considering the statistics on substance abuse by career, an interesting corollary is that the above industries also have very high turnover rates. In particular, accommodations, food services, arts, entertainment, recreation, construction, mining, retail, media, professional services, and technology have extremely high turnover rates (all above 10% turnover).

Part of the reason for such high turnover, especially in foodservice, accommodations, construction, and mining, is that trying to hold a full-time job and manage an addiction is simply impossible. One can never do this for long, which is why it is so important that people who struggle with addiction seek help at a drug and alcohol rehab center as soon as possible.


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AUTHOR

Ren

After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.

NARCONON OJAI

DRUG EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION