Cali Estes featured for her addiction work with the underground subculture of Google executives. Read on and enjoy!
Use of illicit drugs becomes part of Silicon Valley’s work culture
Furthering the problem, many tech companies do little or no drug testing because, as Albrecht put it, “they want the results, but they don’t want to know how their employees got the results.”
Drug abuse in the tech industry is growing against the backdrop of a national surge in heroin and prescription pain-pill abuse. Treatment specialists say the over-prescribing of painkillers, like the opioid hydrocodone, has spawned a new crop of addicts — working professionals with college degrees, a description that fits many of the thousands of workers in corporate Silicon Valley.
Increasingly, experts see painkillers as the gateway drug for addicts, and they are in abundance. “There are 1.4 million prescriptions … in the Bay Area for hydrocodone,” says Alice Gleghorn with the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “That’s a lot of pills out there.”
Patients prescribed opioids for back pain or injuries can easily become addicted; others get opioids on a thriving black market, or easier yet, from the medicine cabinet of a family member or friend.
Dr. Norman Wall, a Calistoga detox specialist who works with employees from iconic companies such as Apple, says the progression up the addiction ladder is predictable: uppers like Adderall to keep up with production demands and 12-hour days, then downers like oxycodone, another powerful opioid, to take the edge off when you get home. “It’s not a big leap to get hooked on oxycodone,” he says.
Dave Marlon, president of Nevada-based treatment center Solutions Recovery Inc., which has treated tech workers from across the country, says, “Some people say they need to take opioids in the morning just to function and go to work. It’s like drowning and you need air.”