Pandemic Consequences
New Study Shows Nearly Half of American Workers are Struggling with Substance Abuse

We have officially been in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic for more than a year. It has been a trying time for all of us. Many of us suffered job insecurity, struggled to make ends meet and had to adapt to an entirely new way of life. The country suffered immense division and many individuals began experiencing new or worsening symptoms associated with mental health. Isolation can be extremely detrimental to individuals with underlying mental health or addictions issues. All of these factors combined created a recipe for many to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

Self-medication is one of the most common reasons behind drug and alcohol use; when the going gets tough, reaching for a bottle of booze or a handful of pills seems like the quickest way to numb the pain. Of course, those of us who have struggled with addiction and made it through to the other side know that substance use solves no problems — in fact, it almost always makes existing issues more difficult to overcome. Still, this doesn’t stop people from trying to alleviate disproportionate stress levels with chemical substances. Therefore its probably unsurprising that, according to a recent article published by The Associated Press, 49 percent of all workers throughout the U.S. are struggling with substance abuse and addiction — a number that has risen significantly since the pandemic began.

Substance Abuse in High Stress Industries

Substance abuse has always been a major issue among workers in all industries, ranging from construction workers and service industry workers, to licensed physicians and high-profile lawyers.

Drug and alcohol abuse affects nearly half of American workers. Addiction increased during the pandemic. Drug & Alcohol Detox. Alcohol Abuse. Drug Abuse. CuraSouth. Tampa.

Addiction Numbers Are On the Rise

The AP reported that the number of U.S. workers who have skipped work or experienced lowered levels of productivity due to substance abuse has nearly doubled since 2019. Thirty-six percent of working men and women across the country reported that their professional lives have suffered as a direct result of the pandemic, and 19 percent reported that they abused chemical substances at least once a week. Interestingly enough, the increasing rates of substance abuse in the workplace is not entirely bad — there is some good coming out of excessive, pandemic-fueled drug and alcohol use — at least according to Dr. Dan Jolivet, the Workplace Possibilities practice consultant with the Standard, the organization that funded the study publicized by the AP and conducted by Versta Research.

“The research not only reveals an alarming rate of alcohol and other substance abuse among workers across a variety of industries and generations, but also paves the way for employers to open the conversation with employees about these issues,” Dr. Jolivet explained. “In this way, companies can empower workers to seek the help and support they need. When an employee is living with a substance-use issue, oftentimes a job is something positive to hold onto, and one of the strongest sources of support and encouragement can come from an employer.”

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High-stress jobs tend to result in the highest rates of substance abuse, though nowadays — considering the current circumstances — every occupation can be considered high-stress. Grocery store employees have been frantically rushing to restock shelves, restaurant workers are facing angry opposition from people who would rather not wear a mask, and nurse practitioners are working day and night as they quite literally put their lives on the line.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, certain professions traditionally see higher rates of substance abuse than others. Combined data collected between 2008 and 2012 indicated that on an annual basis roughly 8.7 percent of full-time workers between the ages of 18 and 64 drank excessively at least once within the past month, and 8.6 percent used an illicit drug at least once within the past month. Rates of substance abuse were highest among miners, construction workers, food service industry workers and men and women in the arts and entertainment industry.

Effective Addiction Treatment

Whether you have found yourself self-medicating as a result of the pandemic, or been abusing drugs or alcohol for a long time, CuraSouth can help you get your feet on the path to recovery. Our detox facility in Tampa, Florida offers medical detox in a comfortable, homestyle setting. We utilized medications to help ease the pain of withdrawal, and begin working through your root issues in group and individual therapy sessions. Then, we help you plan the next steps for your continued wellness.

CuraSouth is part of the Guardian Recovery Network, which offers a wide range of addiction treatment options for individuals of all types. We focus on individualized care, placing each individual client in the program of recovery that best meets his or her unique needs.

We also have an Executive Program for professionals seeking to have a completely private experience away from other clients. This program provides men and women who work in demanding fields the opportunity to complete work-related obligations. Clients in our Executive program have access to private meeting rooms, high-speed internet and telephones, and all of the other amenities they are accustomed to, while undergoing medically-assisted detox.

No matter what your story is, we help our clients customize their treatment plans to best suit them.

The levels of clinical care we provide include:

  • Medically monitored detox
  • Inpatient/residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP)
  • Outpatient treatment (OP)
  • Thorough aftercare planning

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The addiction services we provide include:

  • Intervention services – Treatment can be effective even when it is not voluntary. If your loved one is in need of professional help but continues to refuse seeking treatment on his or her own accord, we are available to help. We work closely with several licensed and highly experienced interventionists, all who boast high success rates.
  • Case management services – Upon admission to each level of clinical care we provide, clients are paired with a case manager who walks them through every stage of the early recovery process. Case managers serve as client advocates and are the main point of contact between the clinical team and the loved ones of the client.
  • Medical and clinical assessments – Clients undergo a detailed initial assessment as well as several other assessments over the course of the treatment process. These assessments help the clinical team develop individualized treatment plans and aftercare plans.
  • Intensive behavioral therapy –  Therapeutic care is the backbone of every stage of our recovery process, from medically monitored detox through intensive outpatient treatment. We offer individual therapy sessions that take place once a week and group therapy sessions that take place on a daily basis.
  • Family therapy and family-oriented services –  Family involvement is crucial to long-term sobriety. We offer family therapy sessions and a Family Workshop Retreat.
  • Relapse prevention training – Clients learn how to work through personal relapse triggers by utilizing a range of healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Life skills training – Many of our clients must re-learn basic life skills after battling a long-term substance abuse disorder. We offer vocational training and educational placement along with budgeting, nutrition and other skills that are conducive to fully independent living.
  • 12-step program education and immersion – Our immersion program breaks down each of the 12 steps thoroughly and teaches clients the importance of ongoing involvement.
  • Medication Assisted Treatment – MAT is an important part of most medical detox experiences.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment options – We offer dual diagnosis treatment to men and women who are suffering from a substance abuse disorder and a mental illness like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder.

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  • Caring & Experienced Staff

  • Homestyle Retreat

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Begin Your Personal Recovery Journey

If you have been suffering at the hands of a substance abuse disorder of any severity, CuraSouth is available to help. We have developed a multi-phased curriculum of clinical care that caters to the unique needs of working professionals regardless of their current occupation and career. We understand that taking a three month-long break from work in order to attend treatment is not a viable option for everyone. If you or your loved one requires a greater amount of flexibility and personal freedom, we can help you plan a suitable treatment option. No matter what your specific needs or work-related requirements, we have you covered. Contact us today for more information or to begin your personal journey of comprehensive healing.

Travis Atchison

Reviewed for accuracy by: our Clinical Director:

Travis Atchison
LCSW, MCAP


Travis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Addiction Professional. He has worked in various community-based settings, where he served families and couples, addressed issues related to homelessness and crisis and worked in a substance abuse setting.