The tech industry has undergone a notable transformation, transitioning from being just for nerds to being an industry that speaks directly to a youthful demographic with companies like Instagram and Pinterest. Now the tech industry has become cool and hip, with CEOs like facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg making their fortunes in their mid-twenties or even earlier.
The rise of youth culture hasn’t come without some pitfalls, however, with observers noting that inexperience and youth sometimes overriding professionalism. Popular startups like Tinder and Git Hub have had lawsuits and accusations filed against them for hostile environments by former employees. And another concern that has been raised about the tech industry is drug use.
Volatile And Stressful Culture
Gone are the days when employees expected to stay at the same company until retirement. Nowadays both employers and employees in the tech industry often bounce from one startup to another, as many startups get brought out by other companies, dissolve, or seek more funding.
The cutthroat environment on a daily basis, as workers struggle to meet tight deadlines and expectations, and the very long hours they often work to release a product, creates an environment where people may turn to drugs to relieve stress and to fuel their ability to stay productive for long hours.
Prescription Drugs And Heroin
Reportedly prescription drugs like Adderall are the gateway drugs that are popular amongst the tech community, and they are easy to get access to on a regular basis. However, prescription drugs seems to be the first step towards usage of harder drugs like heroin, when people are seeking even more relief from stress and anxiety.
Common in the tech industry is the pride at being able to work tremendously fast on projects and shipping them to the public, even if it means sacrificing personal health and happiness. In fact, working incredibly fast is required, and many tech workers say that if they don’t meet those requirements then there is always someone waiting in the wings to take their place. The most popular drugs that are abused include:
Looking The Other Way
Drug use extends to all levels of the tech industry. Recently, a high-powered executive who had worked at Google named Forrest Hayes died from a drug overdose administered by call girl Alix Tichelman. This opened the door to reveal some unsavory secrets that tech companies were hiding, namely that one of their top executives was a habitual drug user.
Companies need to start being more pro-active in condemning a drug-fuelled culture. Awareness and support should be available to people before and after they’ve started becoming dependent on drugs.
Easy Access To Heroin
Another problem involves how accessible heroin now is to people. In the past, people had to interact with very dangerous people to procure heroin, but now finding heroin is much easier and less dangerous because it has become more common. People’s accessibility to heroin has helped raise the usage of it, and has fuelled increased consumption of it in the San Francisco area.
Alternative To Self-Medicating
While making a career in the tech industry is undoubtedly stressful and full of deadlines, there should be an emphasis in tech culture and companies about the many alternatives that exist to help relief stress. This can include meditation, exercise, and therapy.
But this problem isn’t only indigenous to San Francisco, although the Forrest Hayes case may have brought mainstream attention. Abuse of prescription painkillers is a problem that has grown rapidly in the United States, and is a gateway to using harder illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Educational and preventative measures need to be taken nationally and within the tech community to start managing the issue, and helping people find other ways to manage the stressful work culture.