New Quit Genius Survey of U.S. Workers Finds That 38 Percent are Drinking More Alcohol During Pandemic; Over 1 in 4 Remote Workers Have Gone to Work Impaired by Alcohol or Drugs

Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, April 26, 2021 — Quit Genius, the world’s first digital clinic for treating multiple addictions, announced today that its digital alcohol addiction treatment program is now live in the U.S. Large employers and health plans who have long offered the Quit Genius tobacco solution to their populations have already opted to add its new alcohol program as well, effective immediately.

Alcohol and drug use are at crisis levels in the U.S. A survey conducted in March 2021, by Quit Genius of 1,075 full- and part-time workers, found increasing use of alcohol and drugs during the pandemic, especially among those working remotely.

Highlights of the Quit Genius survey include:

  • 75 percent worked remotely at some point during the pandemic
  • 38 percent reported drinking more alcohol during the pandemic
  • 18 percent reported taking more drugs during the pandemic

People working remotely during the pandemic were more likely to report increased alcohol and drug use:

  • 51 percent have increased their alcohol intake (versus 38 percent overall)
  • 37 percent have increased their drug intake (versus 18 percent overall)
  • Over 1 in 4 remote workers reported going to work impaired by alcohol, drugs or both, a rate that is 3.7x more likely in remote workers than non-remote workers, and 3.5x higher in men than women

Access to treatment has also been impacted by the pandemic, which caused delays and reduced access to programs people use to maintain sobriety. There has also been a disruption in routines and increased social isolation, both of which can cause addictions to spiral.

“Quit Genius has reinvented alcohol addiction treatment for the 21st century, with an effective and easily accessible digital option,” said Dr. Yusuf Sherwani, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Quit Genius. “We’ve taken all the lessons learned from our tobacco and vaping programs and applied them, through a creative approach, to alcohol addiction, which is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.”

The Quit Genius program combines virtual behavioral therapy with approved medication and a connected breathalyzer to help people overcome alcohol addiction from the comfort and privacy of their own home. There is no other program like it in the U.S. It’s modeled after the Quit Genius digital tobacco and vaping solution, already in wide use in the U.S. and Europe, and responsible for helping more than 60,000 people quit smoking since its launch in 2020. The average quit rate for people in the Quit Genius tobacco program is 52 percent. The Quit Genius approach has been validated in a randomized-controlled trial and six peer-reviewed studies.

How the program works

Employees gain access to Quit Genius at no cost through their employer or health plan. At any time, they can confidentially register for a Quit Genius account and begin working with a licensed drug and alcohol counselor who will determine the level of help the employee needs. Through the Quit Genius Addiction Care Navigator, employees and members are guided to the most appropriate treatment.

Program participants have access to a dedicated care management team through telemedicine appointments, unlimited psychological therapy, medication to curb cravings, if needed, and a connected breathalyzer device. The solution also delivers Cognitive Behavioral Therapy modules delivered through the Quit Genius mobile app. Where traditional providers focus on a fixed 30-90 day program, Quit Genius tailors the length of the treatment to the member’s needs with a focus on long-term sustained success.

“In these times, digital clinics for addiction can be a lifeline,” said Dr. Sherwani, who founded Quit Genius with two other physicians after witnessing firsthand the ravages of addiction while working in hospitals. “We’re really excited to have made this new approach to alcohol addiction a reality.”

Learn more about Quit Genius and download the full survey results here.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a public health program organized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Learn more at

About Pelago

Pelago, formerly Quit Genius, partners with enterprises as the leading virtual clinic for substance use management among their employees. We are transforming substance use support—from prevention to treatment—delivering education, management skills, and opportunities for positive change to members struggling with substance use, most commonly tobacco, alcohol, or opioids. Our solution gives employers the means to offer on-demand, personalized support to workers seeking to live healthier lives. Pelago’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs deliver convenient, accessible, and effective support that seamlessly integrates with health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and wellness platforms. To date, Pelago has helped more than 750,000 members manage their substance use and improve their lives.

Say hello to brighter days together

Get started quickly. Save costs. Change lives forever.