14 Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

In this article about 14 professions with the highest drug abuse rates we are determined to give you a list of individual, real jobs, instead of industry groups. And the industry is suffering greatly due to a large number of drug addicts in all spheres. Apparently, the number of drug addicts in the US is so big it’s striking a hard blow on the economy.

Once you’ve read the title, you probably have celebrities in mind, but the reality is much more different. The cost of drug and alcohol abuse in the US economy is $442 billion, which is a staggering number. But that’s a mutual effort, coming from all professions, and the unemployed, too. A question arises why so many workers are doing drugs. Of course, it’s mostly related to stress at their workplace. Some jobs are more likely than the others to provoke interest in illegal substances and their abuse. Our primary source was the Fast Company. We should mention once again the prejudices about certain professions. For instance, drug abuse in medical profession is widely discussed and expected. On the one hand, medical workers deal with stressful situations daily, sometimes even questions of life and death. What is more, they actually have pretty easy access to all kinds of drugs an addict may wish for. Surprisingly, the percentage of healthcare workers with substance abuse is rather low compared to other jobs – only 5.7%. Personal service workers are more likely to misuse drugs and their rate is 7.7%. Perhaps a better question would be how much do surgeons drink (15%) and how many lawyers are alcoholics (29% in their first decade of practice).

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates


But let’s go back to substance abuse. Our starting point was the research which is cited by many sources, and it also appears on Fast Company‘s website. However, since some professions were listed rather as categories, we decided to find specific jobs, which was a more challenging task. We read two articles by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). Then, there were Bloomberg, Intervention Strategies, Forest Safe, Confirm Biosciences, Clinical Services of Rhode Island, Press Herald, USA Mobile Drug Testing and Daily Caller for the latest information. As for the percentages, the most recent information has precedence. Since we were looking for specific professions, they were listed according to their own figures, and not according to the overall percentage of the whole category. Only sometimes did we make an exception and gave you a general term for such workers since our source insisted all the jobs belonging to the category have practically the same number of drug addicts.

In addition, it has to be noted that the term “drug abuse” is understood as taking any drugs whose use is illegal in some way. Those are any pills or medicine taken without a doctor’s order. Regardless of the latest events and protests, we did consider cannabis a drug in this research. Actually, if you wonder what drug has the highest addiction rate, that would be marijuana.

In case similar topics interest you, we discussed professions with highest rate of alcoholism in 18 Professions with the Highest Alcoholism Rates in US. Depression is one of the common causes of drug abuse, and you can find information on professions with highest rates of depression in 15 Professions with the Highest Depression Rates in America. You should definitely be careful about choosing a career in one of them, and the same goes for professions with highest rate of domestic violence (more on them in 10 Professions with Highest Rate of Domestic Violence).

Now would be the time to take a look which workers are struggling the most, i.e., 14 professions with the highest drug abuse rates.

14. Repair, installation and maintenance worker

Drug abuse rate: 8.2 %

As you will see later, this percentage will appear rather modest compared to the others.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

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13. Auto supply store and gas retailer

Drug abuse rate: 11.2%

We are continuing our list of professions with the highest drug abuse rates with auto supply store and gas retail workers who are also in the 9th place when it comes to what jobs drink the most coffee. Unfortunately, plenty of workers in sales look for stronger stimulants.

12. Furniture and appliance store retailer

Drug abuse rate: 14.4%

Obviously, there is something very stressful about indecisive customers in furniture stores or dissatisfied shoppers in appliance stores. In both cases, one has to deal with people and their needs, whims, or complaints. Of course, usually, the salary depends on the sales’ percentage, so it’s no surprise retail workers are under constant stress. You never know if you’re going to be able to pay the bills this month.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates


11. Farmers

Drug abuse rate: 16%

This is probably one of the least expected professions to be found in our list of professions with the highest drug abuse rates. Sad, but true. Despite the image of an honest man working outdoors, and the idea drug abuse is only limited to urban areas, farmers are dealing with serious drug addiction issues. Most of them become addicted to painkillers prescribed to them after (very common) injuries. Basically, 27% of farmers are acquainted with an addict.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

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Up next are top ten professions with the highest drug abuse rates.

10. Retailers in eating and drinking places

Drug abuse rate: 16.3 %

If we remember how much people can be on tenterhooks when they’re purchasing furniture or waiting for the gas, you can imagine how anxious one can get waiting in the line to satisfy his/her basic needs.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

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9. Food service or food preparation worker

Drug abuse rate: 18.6 %

When it comes to substance abuse in restaurants, the situation is very curious. No source can agree which restaurant employees take the lead when it comes to drug addiction. Are they cooks, waiters,  or bartenders? It’s a tough call. The main culprit for their addiction is the long working hours. Actually, bartenders are more famous for being exposed to alcohol and drinking it excessively.

8. Lawyers

Drug abuse rate: 18-20%

Lawyers and substance abuse are a common topic in discussions about 14 professions with the highest drug abuse rates. 25% of lawyers waiting for a trial after their alcohol or drug abuse are diagnosed with a mental disorder. Depression is the cause in 50% of the cases.drug abuse in the medical profession.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates


7. Construction worker

Drug abuse rate: around 21%

The impact of construction workers usage of drugs may be greater than in other professions. Just imagine a typical workplace of a construction worker and all the dangers there are on it. Those helmets aren’t a fashion statement. What is very alarming is the fact that by using illegal substances, a worker is putting his colleagues and even public in danger, too.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates


6. Actors

Drug abuse rate: 23.2%

We’re reading about actors’ problems with drug addiction on a daily basis. Fun fact: 13.7% of drug addicted actors are adult movie actors. Somewhat unexpectedly, it seems that being a porn actor is a very demanding occupation. Jokes aside, they are always expected to be physically prepared and deliver a performance in all conditions.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

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5. Truck drivers

Drug abuse rate: 30 %

Once again a profession in which it is highly risky to be under any influence. That’s probably why most of them look for stimulation in caffeine first (they’re in the 10th place for coffee drinking). When that fails, there are always amphetamines to turn to. Commercial truck drivers have strict deadlines and enormous distances to cover as fast as possible.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates


4. Musicians

Drug abuse rate: 38.6%

There are a lot of fine musicians out there who joined the 27 club due to a drug overdose. Some of them were too weak to survive having tortured their body with all kinds of substances. If we’re talking about what drugs have a high risk of addiction, there are cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. They’re extremely dangerous because they lead to physical addiction. Unfortunately, when the body is craving for drugs, it’s only too easy to get them in the entertainment business.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

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And now, let’s see the top three professions with the highest drug abuse rates.

3. Professional football players

Drug abuse rate: 9-52 %

It’s American football, naturally. Professional athletes are subjects to great pressure from all sides. They’re always expected to do their best, and the fear of defeat often leads them astray. Professional football players are prone to using (illegal) drugs for enhancing their performance, and to using opiates, too.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

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2. Fishermen

Drug abuse rate: 54  %

We came up with this percentage after calculating that heroin was found on 6 out of 11 boats in random testing. Once you start looking for press releases about addicts among fishermen, it seems the situation really is that horrible. Lobster fishermen are most affected, as it appears. Working conditions are harsh, to put it mildly. Bad weather, long hours, physically demanding actions, and, above all, poverty. A combination of these factors is what lures them into substance abuse.

Professions with the Highest Drug Abuse Rates

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1. Competitive powerlifters

Drug abuse rate: 67%

Without any doubt, competitive powerlifters are absolute champions of our list of 14 professions with the highest drug abuse rates. They self-willingly admitted using anabolic steroids for greater performance. These substances promote muscle growth and mustn’t be used without a doctor’s prescription. Both for health and legal reasons. The fact that so many athletes have used them at some point in their lives is alarming but true.