Professions with the Highest Rates of Substance Abuse

Work can be stressful for everyone, but some jobs are more stressful than others. On top of high stress, some jobs involve traumatic or even life-threatening situations. A combination of these factors can take a toll on a person’s mental health. Without a standard or luxury mental health program to address these concerns, many of these professionals may come to rely on drugs or alcohol. When this substance use becomes habitual, dependence often develops, and an addiction occurs.

Alcohol & Drug Use by Occupation

Some jobs are more mentally draining than others and this can lead to several negative consequences. At Seaside Palm Beach, we are looking at some professions with the highest addiction rates.

First Responders

Police officers, firefighters, and EMTs are trained to handle various emergencies, but that doesn’t mean that these situations don’t take their toll. 16.5% of female firefighters were screened positive for problem drinking and over half of male firefighters reported binge drinking in the last month, making this one of the professions with the highest rate of alcoholism.1 Police officers also have a higher prevalence of addiction. One study found that 20-30% of police officers have a substance use disorder.2 Because of these alarming numbers, our Banyan family of treatment centers offers addiction treatment for first responders.


Fame and fortune sometimes come with a price. Being in the spotlight and the pressure to perform can make even the most innocent celebrities turn to drugs and alcohol; just look at the number of Disney child stars who went to rehab. It is not just those celebrities in the entertainment industry; famous athletes and performers are also victims of these trends. One study found that 12.9% of people working in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry struggled with a substance use disorder in the past year alone.3


Not surprisingly, military personnel, including those who are now retired, struggle with substance abuse. PTSD is a common mental health disorder for this population, and many will turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with it. About 20% of active-duty members are heavy drinkers, and about 12% abuse drugs, including mostly misusing prescription painkillers.4 Those struggling with these demons should seek out a standard of luxury dual diagnosis rehab for help.

Healthcare Workers

Knowing that someone’s life is in your hands come with a lot of pressure, especially when it doesn’t always work out. On top of this large responsibility, healthcare workers have easy access to drugs like prescription painkillers. Together these factors make this one of the industries with the highest rates of substance abuse among its professionals. One study found that as many as 14-20% of registered nurses may abuse or are dependent on drugs or alcohol.5


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has consistently found that the construction industry has some of the higher rates of substance use in the United States. Of workers in the construction industry, 16.5% reported heavy alcohol use and 11.6% reported illicit drug use in the past month alone.3 In order to cope with the long-hours and labor-intensive work, many construction workers may rely on alcohol or painkillers.

While we discussed professions with the highest rates of substance abuse, addiction does not discriminate. People with any career or in any industry can struggle with substance abuse. If you or a loved one is suffering, do not wait any longer to get help. Our luxury Florida rehab can help people overcome their addictions and get back to doing the jobs they love. To get more information about our facility and the programs we offer, reach out to us today by calling 561-677-9374.



  1. Women’s Health Issues Journal – Alcohol Use and Problem Drinking among Women Firefighters
  2. Hein Online – Police On-Duty Drug Use: A Theoretical and Descriptive Examination
  3. SAMHSA – The CBHSQ Report- Substance Use and Substance Use Disorder by Industry
  4. NCBI – Substance Use Disorders in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  5. NCBI – Don’t ask don’t tell: substance abuse and addiction among nurses.

Share this post