In brief: It's no secret that the tech industry is one of the best-paying sectors in the job market, but with that lucrative paycheck comes fear of being laid off, long hours, and extreme pressures, and it's turning many executives to drink and drugs.

A survey of 500 tech execs (management level or above) by health company All Points North (APN) shows leaders are increasingly depressed and anxious about their future, and as such are turning to substance misuse and prescription drugs as coping mechanisms.

The tech industry has seen tens of thousands of people laid off this year as a result of the shaky economy and overhiring during the pandemic. Amazon alone has laid off over 20,000 workers

Almost 40% of survey participants have experienced increased anxiety and/or depression due to these layoffs, while 77% say they have negatively impacted their health.

The other big concern for tech execs is the rise of AI. Companies such as IBM have said they intend to stop hiring for jobs that could be performed by generative artificial intelligence, which is expected to impact 300 million full-time jobs globally. Almost two-thirds of participants say AI improvement and the thought of being replaced by a computer have negatively impacted their health, while 31% are worried an AI will take their job.

Nearly 80% of tech workers are using medications, either under a doctor's supervision or otherwise. 32% said they consume controlled substances to perform better and cope with long work hours and high stress: 45% use painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Codeine; 34% use stimulants including amphetamines like Adderall; 36% use antidepressants; 35% use sleeping pills; and 26% use SSRIs.

Excessive alcohol use was also a common factor among participants. Half of them admitted to drinking 3 to 7 alcoholic drinks per day, qualifying them as heavy drinkers. Some said they consume alcohol or controlled substances just before or during work, while around 3 in 10 have increased their alcohol consumption due to stress regarding layoffs and AI.

"This industry fosters a fast-paced, ambitious environment and requires a unique approach to treatment. It's time for the tech industry to wake up and destigmatize substance issues so every employee feels comfortable seeking and receiving the support they desperately need," wrote APN.

Bloomberg's Billionaire Index shows that all but two of the richest individuals in the world come from the technology industry – they've also been making an average of $14 million per day over the past six months thanks to a broad market rally. But for many of those in everyday executive positions, the reality is a job filled with so much stress and worry that it can lead to prescription medication, alcohol, or drug use to cope.