Tech execs turn to drink and drugs as job losses mount

34% of those surveyed are on stimulants including amphetamines

During the first half of 2023, which included job losses and share price pressures, tech execs turned to drink and drugs to help them cope, at least according to one research firm.

In a survey of over 500 tech execs, nearly 80 percent of tech workers told researchers they were taking medications, either under a doctor's supervision or otherwise. To perform better and cope with long work hours and high stress, 32 percent said they consumed controlled substances, and 45 percent said they used painkillers including Codeine, Vicodin, and other opiate derivatives.

Thirty-four percent of tech executives used stimulants, including amphetamines like Adderall, Dexedrine, and Concerta, the survey of 501 tech leaders found.

Half of the respondents admitted to being heavy drinkers, consuming an average of three to seven alcoholic drinks per day, health company APN, which conducted the survey, found.

Many managers said they'd experienced worsening mental health amid fears of layoffs. Problems included increased anxiety and/or depression, reported by 38 percent of execs. Seventy-seven percent said layoffs have impacted their mental health, while 74 percent said improvements in AI and the thought of being replaced by a computer had negatively affected their health.

In its report, APN said: "This industry fosters a fast-paced, ambitious environment and requires a unique approach to treatment. It's time for the tech industry to wake up and destigmatize substance issues so every employee feels comfortable seeking and receiving the support they desperately need."

From the end of 2022 through the first half of 2023, the tech industry has seen swathes of job losses. Companies laying off staff or set to make redundancies include Intel, Facebook and Salesforce. Following its takeover by electric car company executive Elon Musk, Twitter announced it was set to show the door to around half of its workers. Paypal and Microsoft have also announced job cuts.

According to tracker website, 839 tech companies have let staff go in 2023, amounting to a total of 216,328 job losses. Evernote, Stripe, Anaplan, JupiterOne and SumoLogic were among the most recent, the site found. ®

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