Social Enterprise

Are IT pros prone to drug abuse?

According to the DEA, "there are millions of abusers working in our companies, some in very sensitive positions." One blogger makes the assumption that since IT workers often have sensitive jobs, they fall into that group. Is this unfair?

Because of several items I've seen in the news lately, I'm starting to develop a complex for IT pros the world over.

Last week, I talked about the connection between Asperger's Syndrome and IT pros. Now there's a piece in Computerworld by blogger Don Tennant that asks, "How rampant is substance abuse among IT pros?"

From the piece:

Bill Sarine, vice president of business development at ICAN Inc. in Raleigh, notes that according to the DEA, "there are millions of abusers working in our companies, some in very sensitive positions."

In his blog, Tennant says that since IT pros "hold some of the most sensitive positions in any company," possible substance abuse is "especially worrisome."

It may be worrisome, but it doesn't mean, as Tennant seems to imply, that the problem is rampant among IT pros. Just because many abusers have sensitive positions, and IT pros have sensitive positions, it doesn't mean that IT pros are substance abusers.

Now if you list coffee as an abuse-able substance, then hell yeah, I'd venture to say we're all heading down the path to overdose. But is there any evidence that IT pros are regularly under the influence?

One reader who posted in response to the piece claims that he has seen abuse among IT pros who use substances to cope with the pressure of the job. Another poster said that after "almost 30 years as a professional software engineer, in DOD, intel (spook), and industrial positions," he saw a lot of substance abuse but felt it was the best part of the job.

A couple of posters questioned the source of the information — the DEA. Said one:

Look at the corporations that make and administer drug tests, compare to political donors, and look at the revolving doors between government agencies and corporations. Follow the money. Can we say Vested Interests?"

So let's hear it from you guys. First, do you think there is a prevalence of substance abuse among IT techs? Second, is it more prevalent than in any other job?


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

Editor's Picks