Factors like gender, education and average hours have a distinct effect on those in the mining industry. Miners are almost 20% more likely to have an alcohol abuse problem.
Phillip Collins, the Head of Workplace Services at the Australian Drug Foundation said the issues lie in the demographics. “Workers in this industry are mostly male. They are isolated, working irregular, long hours and often don’t have easy access to local health care and interventions they need to work through their problems.”
But easy access to health care wouldn’t make it easier. As one fly-in, fly-out mining camp manager said, males are more likely to drink to solve problems than seek help.
“I personally believe that boredom in remote areas, as well as the ongoing stress of being away from family and civilization, is conducive to drinking and drug use on site,” he said.
Chris DeHerrera, the president and CEO of the Utah Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, said the lifestyle of a typical construction worker includes long periods of travel away from family, which can sometimes contribute to alcohol abuse.
Tim Krueger, a construction laborer, said workers expect drinking on the job.
“While the union certainly wasn’t tolerant…it was kind of common knowledge that some guys drank during lunch in their cars,” he said.
Alcohol abuse is prevalent in the retail and food sectors as well because of ease of access.
John Puckett, who has worked in Sacramento-area restaurants for over 30 years, said it’s a part of the culture.
“There’s also the camaraderie. You and your crew might unwind by having a celebratory shot or cracking a beer. Beer, wine, and liquor are around all the time,” he said.
The industry has such a high turnover rate, so it’s easy to get a job when someone already has alcohol abuse issues. Once on the payroll, abuse worsens when coupled with high stress, long hours and double shifts.
Arts and Entertainment
An industry filled with creatives, A&E is at the top of the list for alcohol abuse. Many who work in the field feel they need alcohol to instill or further their creativity.
“The creative ‘personality’ is one that has higher arousal needs, craving novelty and dopamine,” said Andrea Kuszewski, a cognitive scientist. “So it is no surprise a lot of creative people seek artificial stimulation, which in some cases, leads to abuse.”
Think of magazines you pass at the checkout counter at your local grocery store. On almost every issue, there are topics of drinking and driving or substance abuse. Those are the big stars, not local comedians, musicians and artists.
“Creative people have more intense traits,” Kuszewski said. “Sometimes that intensity can be steered into genius, other times it runs wild and becomes dysfunctional. But that intensity is needed for creativity to really flourish; it just needs to be controlled.”
“We know that men drink and do drugs more heavily than women and that young people are more into drugs and alcohol than older ones. So if an industry is dominated by young or male workers, it stands to reason that you’ll see higher rates of drinking and drug use in that industry,” said Christopher Ingraham, a drug policy journalist.
A majority of 78% of the industry is male. Of those, 25% are between the ages of 16 and 30. In social situations where those struggling with alcohol abuse share a drink with peers, the behavior could encourage others to drink the same amount, decreasing morale.
Like mining, wholesale traders face irregular hours with limited family time. As businessmen, they are often acquiring clients at social events where alcohol is available.
The individual sector of alcohol wholesale trade included, many in this field are prone to alcoholism. Men in wholesale trade are three times more likely than women to struggle with alcohol.