If you are a white collar professional who feels like drug addiction is your dark secret, you’re not alone. In 2019, a National Safety Council survey found that 75% of American employers felt impacted by employee opioid abuse. For 38% of respondents, that experience included employees missing work because of drugs. A shocking 31% of survey participants, however, reported an employee overdose, arrest, or injury due to opioids. It’s clear by now that the opioid epidemic is a major problem in American society, and no income level is immune. However, that same survey found that only 17% of employers felt equipped to help employees struggling with addiction. So, what do you do if you’re a white collar worker with drug addiction?
White Collar Workers & Pills
Besides alcohol, opioids and opiates are some of the substances most likely to be abused by white collar workers. While blue collar workers often abuse drugs like OxyContin or Fentanyl to self-medicate the pain of physically demanding jobs, white collar workers turn to substance abuse in a misguided attempt to manage the stress of high-pressure careers. Lawyers, financial experts, media executives, and other professionals can easily fall prey to opiate addiction. Due to the accessibility of opiates and opioids in the medical fields, doctors also are highly susceptible to misuse.
According to a 2018 article by the National District Attorneys Association, pills can be attractive to white collar workers of all kinds because they are harder — literally — to sniff out. Unlike alcohol or marijuana, pills are easy to hide in an office environment. Workers might even start out with a prescription before sliding down the slippery slope of addiction.
Pill Addiction & COVID
Addiction of all kinds skyrocketed during COVID for many reasons. Of course, the uncertainty, fear, and danger unfolding every day sent many straight to the wine or pill bottle. At the same time, the UK’s Guardian newspaper pointed out, “a lack of repercussions” allowed substance abuse to grow among white collar workers. The new work from home culture meant DUIs were a thing of the past. A lack of interaction with coworkers made it easier to slide under the radar when hung over or even high during working hours.
As companies around the country transition back to the office, many workers are realizing just how bad their problem got during the time away. Are you ready to leave the pills behind and head back to work? If not, what do you do?
Rehab for White Collar Professionals
Luckily, most employers today are happy to support employees who reach out for help with substance abuse. According to that National Safety Council survey, nearly 50% of respondents would happily welcome back an employee after treatment for opioid abuse. As for the other half, they might be forced to: The Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act protect individuals seeking treatment for addiction. In many cases, you may be able to pursue residential addiction treatment for opioids and keep your job.
Even if you can’t commit to a stay in residential treatment right now, there are a variety of treatment plans that can fit around your lifestyle. For example, intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) can be scheduled around your working hours. Sober living gives you a safe place to build your new life in recovery. Whatever path you choose, you’ll find people just like you who’ve struggled and found new hope in recovery.
If you’d like to talk through your options, give our admissions team a call. We have experience working with employers to get employees the help they need, so you can return to work refreshed, renewed, and in recovery.