What Professions Are High Risk for Alcohol and Drug Abuse?

Studies have shown that drug users are less likely to hold down a job. They are also more likely to get hurt on the job and miss days at work. However, it is estimated that 75 percent of people who illegally use drugs have a job. Alcohol and drug abuse rates can vary greatly from profession to profession. Below are some of the professions with the highest rate of drug and alcohol abuse.

Construction Workers

Construction workers have the highest rate of alcohol abusers. In fact, it is estimated that 17.1 percent of construction workers abuse alcohol. They also have the second-highest rate of drug abusers. Over 15 percent of construction workers use drugs. Keep in mind that the national average for all other occupations is 8.2 percent illicit drug abusers. The national average percentage of alcohol abusers for all other occupation is 8.8 percent.

Construction workers have a very demanding and stressful job. This is one of the things that puts people who work in the industry at an increased risk for abusing drugs and alcohol. However, employers are cracking down on people who illegally use drugs. Construction workers are required not only to undergo drug testing prior to getting the job, but also may be required to undergo random drug testing while they are working.

Employers are hoping that random drug testing will deter people from using drugs. Drug users stated that they would be less likely to use drugs if their employer implemented random drug testing.

Food Preparation and Serving

People who work in food preparation and serving make up the highest percentage of drug abusers. It is estimated that 17.1 percent of people who work in this industry abuse drugs. Over 12 percent of people who work in this industry abuse alcohol. There are several reasons food preparation and serving workers have a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse. Unlike many other employers, food industry employers are not as strict about drug testing their employees. Many restaurants also do not enforce a drug- and alcohol-free policy.

Furthermore, the turnover rate for jobs in the food service industry is high. There are job openings always available and employers are very eager to fill these positions.


Contrary to popular belief, people who work in the entertainment industry do not have the highest rates of drug abuse. Celebrities who die by overdosing on drugs often make headlines, which has led people to think that the highest rates of drug abuse can be found among entertainers. However, they do have the third-highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse. It is estimated that 12.1 percent of people in the entertainment industry abuse drugs or alcohol.

There is no drug- or alcohol-free policy required to work in the entertainment industry. In fact, drug and alcohol use is often encouraged in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, drugs and alcohol are readily available when you work in the entertainment industry.

Alcohol or drug abuse can ruin a career. If you or one of your loved ones has a problem with drugs or alcohol, then you should seek treatment.

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