Seeing that we spend most of our time at work, it is impossible to overemphasize our jobs’ ability to shape our lifestyles. One of the habits people pick up in the course of their day-to-day undertakings is substance use. Americanmarijuana.org went out to find out more about the trends relating to drug users and how they are distributed across occupations. We collected this information from governmental data sources and put together some of the major takeaways below.

Substance Use Disorder Rate by Profession

substance use disorder by industry

People working in the Accommodation and Food Services sector have the highest rate of substance use disorder of all the professions at 17.4%. They are followed closely by those in Construction who have 17.3% substance use disorder rate. At 5%, professionals in Education services are the least likely to have substance use disorders while those in Health and Social Assistance have the second lowest prevalence at 6.4%.

The following are the detailed rates of substance abuse, by occupation:

Occupation SUD rate
Accommodations and food services 17.4
Construction 17.3
Mining 14.3
Management 13.8
Wholesale trade 13.4
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 13.0
Real estate, rental and leasing 11.2
Retail trade 11.2
Information 10.8
Manufacturing 10.4
Finance and insurance 10.0
Transportation and warehousing 9.9
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting 9.6
Other services 9.4
Professional, scientific, and technical services 9.4
Utilities 9.1
Public administration 6.5
Healthcare and social assistance 6.4
Educational services 5.0

Now the question is: Are professionals in lower income jobs more likely to have substance use disorder than those with higher incomes? In the following section, we went to U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS to check the average annual income in every listed industry, then compared them against cases of substance use disorder in the profession to establish any possible link between prevalence of substance use disorder and income.

Links between Salary and Substance Use

drug use and anual salary

We found that people in Accommodation and Food Services have the highest substance use disorder rate (17.4%) for the lowest salary ($23,595/year)

People in Management are fourth in the list of the highest drug users, but their annual income is also the highest ($97,152). Those whose occupations fall under the category of Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services have the second-highest income of all the occupations with $90,341/year. Still, they are the fifth-lowest when it comes to substance use (9.4%).  

The takeaway from this is that the amount of income, whether low or high, doesn’t determine the possibility of a person using substances one way or another. 

Links between Mental Illness and Substance Use

Mental illness is often associated with substance use. In some instances, it is speculated that some mental diseases such as bipolar and schizophrenia make people more inclined towards substance abuse. We sought to determine whether there is a clear-cut relationship between mental illness and substance abuse. The findings below show the professions with the highest cases of serious mental illness, which is reported by U.S National Institutes of Health, compared with the level of substance abuse.

drug use and mental illness

People in the Construction industry are second-highest in substance use, but they have among the lowest cases of mental illness (2.5%). Professionals in Public Administration are the third lowest substance users among the professions listed, but they have among the highest levels of severe mental illness. This is mirrored by those whose occupation is in Utilities. They have some of the lowest cases of substance use, and also the second lowest mental illness rate with 1.5%. Education is particularly interesting; because despite having the lowest rate of substance use disorder, it also has numerous cases of severe mental illness (8.1%).

*Detailed Serious Mental Illness rate and SUD rate, by Occupation:

Occupation Serious Mental Illness rate (%) SUD rate (%)
Accommodations and food services - data unavailable - 17.4
Construction 2.5 17.3
Mining 2.5 14.3
Management 11.4 13.8
Wholesale trade 11.4 13.4
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 3.6 13.0
Real estate, rental and leasing - data unavailable - 11.2
Retail trade 11.4 11.2
Information - data unavailable - 10.8
Manufacturing 4.9 10.4
Finance and insurance - data unavailable - 10.0
Transportation and warehousing 4.2 9.9
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting 0.3 9.6
Other services 18.1 9.4
Professional, scientific, and technical services 10.3 9.4
Utilities 1.5 9.1
Public administration 14.5 6.5
Healthcare and social assistance - data unavailable - 6.4
Educational services 8.1 5.0

Links between Suicide and Substance Abuse

substance use and suicide rate

In the quest to establish a relationship between SUD and suicide, we found the following:

  • Workers in Education industry has lowesy substance use and lowest cases of suicide with only 6.6 cases per 100,000 working persons.
  • People in Mining industry are among the most likely to commit suicide, and they also have the highest SUD rate.
  • Those working in Utilities have low rates of SUD but high suicide rates (26.3 cases per 100,000).
  • In the Wholesale industry, employees have high rates of SUD and low suicide rates.

*Detailed Suicide rate and SUD rate, by Occupation:

Occupation Suicide rate (per 100,000 people) SUD rate (%)
Accommodations and food services 15.35 17.4
Construction 27.35 17.3
Mining 54.2 14.3
Management - data unavailable - 13.8
Wholesale trade 11.8 13.4
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 18.55 13.0
Real estate, rental and leasing 11.85 11.2
Retail trade 14.05 11.2
Information 13.15 10.8
Manufacturing 15.45 10.4
Finance and insurance 10.55 10.0
Transportation and warehousing 19.95 9.9
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting 36.1 9.6
Other services 23.95 9.4
Professional, scientific, and technical services 12 9.4
Utilities 26.3 9.1
Public administration 15.3 6.5
Healthcare and social assistance 13.1 6.4
Educational services 6.6 5.0

Links between Educational Attainment and Substance Use

Jobs that require a bachelor’s degree have the lowest cases of SUD, while those that need less than a high school diploma have the highest cases. It, therefore, appears that people with higher education use drugs less than those with lower education.

*Detailed Educational Attainment and SUD rate, by Occupation:

Occupation Educational Attainment SUD rate (%)
Accommodations and food services No formal educational credential 17.4
Construction High school diploma or equivalent 17.3
Mining High school diploma or equivalent 14.3
Management High school diploma or equivalent 13.8
Wholesale trade High school diploma or equivalent 13.4
Arts, entertainment, and recreation No formal educational credential 13.0
Real estate, rental and leasing High school diploma or equivalent 11.2
Retail trade No formal educational credential 11.2
Information Bachelor's degree 10.8
Manufacturing High school diploma or equivalent 10.4
Finance and insurance High school diploma or equivalent 10.0
Transportation and warehousing High school diploma or equivalent 9.9
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting No formal educational credential 9.6
Other services High school diploma or equivalent 9.4
Professional, scientific, and technical services Bachelor's degree 9.4
Utilities High school diploma or equivalent 9.1
Public administration Bachelor's degree 6.5
Healthcare and social assistance High school diploma or equivalent 6.4
Educational services Bachelor's degree 5.0

References:

Fair Use Statement

If you know someone who could benefit from our findings, feel free to share this project with them. The graphics and content are available for noncommercial reuse. All we ask is that you link back to this page so that readers get all the necessary information and we receive proper credit.

Dwight K. Blake Written by: Dwight K. Blake

Dwight was a Mental Health counselor at Long Island Psychotherapy & Counseling in Westbury, New York for more than 15 years. He believes that CBD is the prime solution to this mental illness and more-- with proper research, medical acknowledgment, and application.
Through his work at AmericanMarijuana, together with the rest of the team, he wishes to provide everyone with genuine results and high-quality product reviews for everyone to enjoy for free.

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