What’s cooler than a sleek MacBook Pro? A sweet pair of stunner shades laying on top of a MacBook Pro, of course! But what’s cooler than both of those things? If you guessed drugs, then you may be hip to the new era of tech geeks out there running on fumes and soaking up the pixelated stress of trying to make your smartphone faster and thinner and smarter. Apparently, the use of illicit substances is on the rise within the Silicon Valley elite, but like most situations involving wealth and drugs, it’s not nearly as cool as it looks in the movies. In fact, it’s proving to be downright hazardous.
While it’s no surprise that the tech industry is full of young people who are thriving in a demanding and exciting field, the news of hardcore drugs being such a common part of their lives is a pretty shocking discovery. We can accept the occasional party favors and expensive bottles of alcohol to celebrate promotions and quell the stress of the workweek, but we expect such behavior to be in strict moderation when it comes to self-driven professionals. Sure, there may be a few DUIs here and there, perhaps some minor possession charges, but not from the veterans of the industry, and certainly not intravenous drug use! As they say, it’s all fun and games until a high priced escort injects a 51-year old Google executive with a lethal dose of heroin.
When news broke that Forrest Timothy Hayes had died of a heroin overdose, it shed light on the hidden underbelly of Silicon Valley. This was not someone fresh out of college trying to cope in the competitive entry level of the technology field, Forrest Hayes was at the head of one of the hugest names in the business, yet none of that success could save him from the allure of numbing his pain. As the story unraveled, we learned that he was involved in more than just drugs, and now the woman who administered his injection is facing manslaughter charges, among a heap of other bad press.
The tragedy of this highly respected individual is exposing the imminent dangers facing Silicon Valley. People outside of the tech world are now beginning to see just how much pressure is put on these programmers and developers trying to make the next big app or search engine on the market. They are all competing to get in the field, climb the ladder, and stay in the game. Energy drinks, cocaine, and prescription drugs like Adderall are all regularly used stimulants to stay up for days getting work done. When it comes time to unwind from an amphetamine bender, it takes more than a glass of wine to get the sting of the computer screen out of your brain. The use of prescription narcotics like oxycodone becomes a staple, and due to the high risk of addiction, they begin to seek out stronger and more dangerous forms of opiates. It’s a vicious cycle, and the fact that many of the world’s most brilliant and motivated people are being swept away in it, only highlights the severity of the problem.