Jun 30, 2023 - Technology

Rise of pill-popping tech execs

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

A tech sector job used to be a dream ticket, but now it may be a fast-track to stress and substance abuse, according to a survey of 500 tech leaders.

Why it matters: High salaries, stock options and office perks at tech companies are starting to take a back seat to job loss fears, long hours and other stresses.

What's happening: The survey of tech executives at companies with 1,000 or more employees was conducted by pollster Censuswise for All Points North, a luxury health care provider.

Top findings include:

  • 4 in 5 tech execs are taking medications ("controlled substances"), and among that cohort 1 in 2 use them "every day or nearly every day."
  • 3 in 4 say that recent layoffs, and the future risk of AI replacing their roles, have negatively affected their health.
  • 1 in 2 self-reported as qualifying as heavy drinkers (3-7 drinks per day).
  • 1 in 3 used controlled substances such as amphetamines and sleeping pills specifically to cope with work stress and long hours.

Yes, but: Some of Silicon Valley's wealthiest founders and investors are increasingly open about their drug use from ketamine to magic mushrooms, Wall Street Journal reported this week.

  • Psychedelics advocates say their choices aren't about stress, but about extending creativity and dissolving mind and body boundaries.
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