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Drugs at work: 'I've never seen a clean trader'

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Drugs at work: 'I've never seen a clean trader'
Joshua Hodge
10:23 CEST+02:00

More and more Swiss workers are resorting to drugs to improve their performance, according to a new study.

Independent help group Addiction Switzerland is concerned that the numbers of people taking drugs on a daily basis is on the rise due to the increasing pressures exerted both in their workplaces and private lives, online news site Le Matin reported.

“Each profession has its own doping,” Dr. Sophie Nicole, director of the Belmont Clinic in Geneva, told the website.

She explained that administrative workers tended to favour antidepressants, while team leaders leaned towards anxiolytics, lawyers chose heroin, and bankers plumped for stimulants such as cocaine.

“I’ve never seen a trader who was clean,” she said. “They are subject to such performance requirements, they fall back on these substances to cope and always be successful.”

The ease of getting hold of the drugs combined with an increasing ambivalence about the associated dangers are some of the main problems leading to dependency, according to Dr. Barbara Broers from Geneva University Hospital.

“Today, when you feel overwhelmed or ill at ease, it seems normal to take a little pill.”

Broers fears a culture of shopping for drugs on the internet, not only because it is easy to get hold of many substances, including many that are also illegal, but also because she says people do not really know what is in them and what they are getting.

In addition, she told the website about her concerns that certain doctors are handing out sedatives seemingly indiscriminately, and explained that some insomniacs were taking between 10 and 12 pills a day in order to replace their anxiety with mild euphoria.

Although there are no studies quantifying exactly how many people in Switzerland are affected, a study in neighbouring Germany suggests that as many as one in every five workers have taken something at some point to improve their performance.

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