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What drugs are successful people using?

Updated: Apr 6

In this week’s blog post in our series examining health and success, we’re looking at drug use. I’m talking caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cannabis and hard drugs to answer what drugs are successful people using.

Before we get started... let's define wealthy and low-income

Throughout this post wealthy and low-income and similar terms are used. Although studies in different countries and older studies will have different definitions of wealth thresholds, wealthy people and less wealthy/low-income people in the uk are:

Defining wealthy people in the UK:

The top 10% mark and above which starts at around £60,500 in the UK with figures for the top 1% being defined as £160,000.

Defining low-income or less wealthy people in the UK:

Households are classed as being in low income if they live on less than 60% of the average (median) net disposable equivalised UK household income (around 17,500 for a couple in the UK before household expenses)

What I thought going into this:

There is a positive relationship between health and wealth. I thought going into this article wealthier people would have healthier drug habits. Read on for the low down on how successful people use drugs differently from people with lower socio-economic status.

Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cannabis and hard drugs


Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world and has beneficial effects like anti-depressive properties and mental focus.

The only study I could find examining differences in caffeine use between socioeconomic classes was a study in the Netherlands which showed a similar distribution of use, with the highest proportion belonging to the middle class.

While I didn’t find much data regarding the amount of caffeine consumption among socioeconomic classes, senior managers and high achievers were more likely to drink coffee than tea, especially with clients.