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How Your Job Choices Impact Your Sobriety

Written By: Harris House

Category: Blog, Recovery, Recovery

Group of workers with reflective vests and hard hat entering a construction site.

Are they walking into a future of substance abuse and addiction?

Did you know that statistically some industries are associated with higher rates of drug abuse and addiction? In fact, while the overall rate of substance use disorder was 9.5 percent among full-time workers aged 18 to 64 across all sectors, this number spikes much higher in certain industries. Which industries those are may surprise you. Here’s a closer look at the numbers, why they matter, and how recovery is possible if you have a substance use disorder and work in one of the fields.

Substance Use By Industry

According to SAMHSA’s 2015 CBHSQ Report on substance use and substance use disorder by industry, 12 industries outpaced the national average when it came to incidents of substance use disorder.

Accommodations and food services led the pack with a rate of 16.9 percent. The second and third spots were claimed by construction and arts, entertainment and recreation at 14.3 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively.  Also exhibiting especially high rates of substance use disorder were mining (11.8 percent); utilities (11.5 percent);  management of companies and enterprises, administration, support, waste management, and remediation services (11.4 percent); retail trade (10.5 percent); agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (10.5 percent); wholesale trade (10.4 percent); other services (except public administration) (10.1 percent); real estate, rental and leasing (10 percent); and information (9.8 percent).

Laying the Foundation for Recovery

These findings are especially eye-opening as they reveal that industries where substance abuse strikes hardest are incredibly varied. Not only that, but the underlying risk factors for substance use disorder also differ by industry.

In accomodations and food service industries, for example, factors like high-stress work environments, low wages, younger employees, irregular hours, higher turnover rates, and workplace cultures conducive to drug use are viewed as risk factors.

Man order coffee from a cafe worker.

In businesses where customer service is everything, learning coping mechanisms for stressful situations can be a defense against substance abuse.

In mining, conversely, higher substance abuse rates have been linked with roster system scheduling during which minors work for weeks at a time before taking a week’s long leave. Not only does this result in heavy alcohol consumption during leave, but this is also time away from workplace prevention initiatives.

Construction workers deal with a different set of challenges, including the soreness, aches, and pains caused by hard labor, long hours, and unpleasant work conditions. As a result, many construction workers end up self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

Whether you work in one of these industries, or in another field completely, it’s important to know that many employers provide employee assistance programs as part of their workplace benefits. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act can help protect your job while also offering access to treatment.

Also, understanding your triggers and adopting healthy coping mechanisms can also help you avoid falling into bad patterns while discovering equally fulfilling alternatives to substance abuse which are better for both your health and career.

If you or someone you love has a substance use disorder, recovery is possible — with the right treatment, that is. As lasting recovery relies on addressing the underlying issues of addiction, finding an addiction recovery program that acknowledges the unique factors that contribute to addiction, including work and work-related triggers, can offer the best chance at lasting recovery. Enter Harris House. Call us to learn about admissions to our individualized and holistic rehabilitation programs.

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