Increasing Corporate Demands Spur Drug-Use by Workers

Jesus, I hate to see shit like this, but in retrospect it was almost inevitable and we should have seen it coming. Corporate productivity demands on workers have increased to such an extent that stress levels are going through the roof. Since management is refusing to hire more workers during this so-called ‘recovery’, the ones they have are forced to find ways to keep themselves going for the longer shifts, the longer weeks, and the fewer hours of rest and recuperation. Drugs, unfortunately, are the easiest way to do that.

By Daniel Costello, LA Times Staff Writer

Lawyers use it to deal with grueling workloads. Movie executives say they like how the buzz keeps them focused as they multi-task throughout the day. It’s most popular, researchers say, on construction sites and in manufacturing plants where workers need to stay alert during long hours of repetitive work. And the cost — as little as $100 a month — makes it affordable to many.

While methamphetamines have long been a bane to law enforcement, and treatment experts say the number of meth addicts has been increasing for years, the drugs have graduated into a formidable problem in the workplace.

The illegal drug, also known as “ice,” “Tina” or “crystal,” is a powerful stimulant: A single dose can keep users high for up to 14 hours. At least initially, people say it makes them feel like a superhero — confident, untouchable and able to accomplish a day’s work in a few hours.

It may be particularly attractive for the growing number of American workers who, studies show, are putting in longer hours and being asked to do more by their employers. For some, the drug seems to provide a good solution to busy work schedules and demanding bosses. Anecdotally, users talk of stirring meth into their coffee in the morning before leaving for the office.

“A lot of people look at this like it’s No Doz — just another way to keep them awake and on message,” said Nancy Delogu, a Washington, D.C., attorney and an expert in workplace substance abuse.

Still, the problem of meth use remains largely unnoticed by much of corporate America. While a small number of employers are recognizing meth as a problem, researchers, treatment counselors, and state and federal regulators say most employers have done little to address the issue or the myriad problems — erratic behavior, accidents, increased sick days and health costs — that are attributed to its use. Although there are no government or private statistics on meth use in the workplace, a major national survey in 2002 found that an estimated 77% of people who use drugs of any type are employed.

We’re going to pay a terrible price, all of us, for allowing the corporate economy to destroy our personal lives in the name of ‘efficiency’.