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More Germans 'doping' to enhance workplace performance

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More Germans 'doping' to enhance workplace performance
Photo: DPA
16:22 CET+01:00
While Germany tries to combat doping in sports, drug abuse to boost desk jockey performance in the country is on the rise, according to a new study published by German health insurer DAK this week.

As long-distance drivers on amphetamines or classical musicians on beta-blockers become less-surprising in today's society, more people in varied industries are resorting to prescription drugs to improve workplace efficiency or simply lift their mood, the study released on Thursday said.

DAK questioned some 3,000 employees between the ages of 20 and 50-years-old and researched some 2.5 million insurance records to find out more about doping in the workplace.

Almost 2 million were found to have already used certain remedies to cope with increasing stress levels at work, while 800,000 people regularly and intentionally used antidepressants or prescriptions meant to treat dementia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They often named colleagues, friends, family and the internet as the sources of supply, the study revealed.

“Concentrated, creative and career-minded. The desire to be perfect all the time can't even be fulfilled with pharmaceuticals,” DAK head Herbert Rebscher said of the results, adding that long-term use carries the risk of addiction.

Four in 10 people said they knew prescriptions meant to fight illness-related memory loss or mood swings can also have an effect for healthy people. Meanwhile, two in 10 people questioned said they considered the benefits of taking performance-enhancing prescription drugs to outweigh the risks and side effects.

The study also showed the differences in doping between men and women. While men preferred efficiency-increasing supplements, their female co-workers often resorted to sedatives.

“Men tend to increase their proficiency, women brighten up their moods,” Rebscher said.

One of the biggest problems is defining legitimate and illegitimate uses of certain drugs. While every fifth employee has had someone recommend performance-enhancing pills without medical need, only one-third of them got the recommendation from a physician.

Rebscher called the study results an “alarm signal,” although workplace doping is not yet a widespread trend due to fears of side effects. But a general increase in pharmaceutical use for ailments like hair-loss, potency and wrinkle reduction will cause the development to “speed up.”

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