Addiction in the Restaurant Industry

It appears that addiction in the restaurant industry is on the rise. Most people wouldn't think of people who work in accommodations positions as being addicts. However, these jobs are among the most stressful ones in the country. When you consider the issues that are likely to lead to addiction, it begins to make sense.

Are You an Addicted Restaurant Employee?

Perhaps you are an addicted restaurant worker. You may have been struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction for years. For you, it has become a method that you use to cope. You may not have even seen what you're doing as being an actual addiction.

It is so important to call attention to the substance abuse problems of our country's hardest workers. They often go ignored, by both the general public, and by the addicts themselves. If you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you need to get as much information as you can.

It can be so helpful to learn more about how addiction has affected the field you work in. You'll find that there are so many others who are just like you. Addiction can be a lonely place. It's important for you to know that you're not alone. There are reasons why you are so susceptible to turning to substances for comfort and as coping mechanisms. Still, just because you have an addiction, that doesn't mean your life has to remain this way.

Let's take a few moments and talk about how substance abuse has affected the accommodations industry.

You may be surprised to find out how prominent addiction is in the food and beverage industry. Addicts tend to think that they're all alone; that they're the only one suffering. This couldn't be further from the truth.

According to SAMHSA:

  • 11.8% of food service workers report heavy alcohol use during the last month.
  • 19.1% of food industry workers report that they have used illicit drugs at some point during the last month.
  • Close to 17% of accommodations industry staff say that they have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.
  • Regular alcohol use among those in the food and beverage industry has gone down. However, illicit drug use has risen from 16.9% to 19.1%.
  • The number of food service workers being diagnosed with SUD has decreased.
  • However, this could mean that there are less of them seeking treatment.

Do you find these statistics surprising? If you work in the food industry, you may not have been aware that substance abuse was so prevalent. There are so many people who battle addictions. Many of them don't realize that there is help available to them. As a result, they may struggle for most of their adult lives.

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Restaurant Industry and Addiction

Types of Substances Abused by Those Working Food Industry Jobs

There are actually several different types of substances that people in working in the food and beverage industry find appealing. For this reason, it's hard to say that these workers tend to lean toward one, in particular.

Food industry employees use a number of substances for various reasons. The most popular drugs of choice include the following:

Food service positions often require long hours spent on your feet. They require quick decisions and excellent attention to detail. For many food service workers, their jobs are incredibly stressful. They may not get much sleep at night, or they may work more than one job. This makes stimulants seem like an obvious choice if they're going to abuse drugs.

Alcohol seems like another obvious choice for a substance of abuse for those in food service. Today, most restaurants serve alcohol. For this reason, it's readily available to staff members at all times. It's not unusual for food service workers to steal alcohol, or to even use while they're working. Bartenders are known for drinking while they're on the clock, at times. For them, it seems as though a logical option if they're looking to a type of substance.

Marijuana is very popular among food service workers. In many states, marijuana is legal to purchase and use recreationally. This can make it much more attractive to those in the food industry. There are also many states where marijuana is available by prescription. For workers who suffer from chronic pain because of their jobs, smoking pot seems like a good solution.

Cocaine also makes the list for most used substances by restaurant employees. Cocaine is a stimulant, and it can help them stay awake through long shifts. It often doesn't take much for food industry workers to find out where to get this drug. Once they use it even one time, it can quickly turn into an addiction.

Food service workers frequently suffer from injuries. They are on their feet all day long. This puts a strain on their backs, their legs and their feet. Many of them suffer from migraine headaches, or other types of pain. Many food and beverage industry employees visit the doctor to get pain medication. Their medication helps them to experience less pain, and get through their shifts. Unfortunately, opiate drugs are frequently prescribed for them, and these drugs are addictive. Many in the food industry become addicted to opiates accidentally. Once they're addicted, it's extremely hard to stop using.

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Types of Substances Food and Beverage Industry Employees Tend to Avoid

Interestingly enough, restaurant workers rarely turn to heroin or sedatives. This is surprising because of the long hours and lack of sleep. It's also surprising because many pain medication addicts turn to heroin eventually.

Addictions in the food service industry can quickly spread. Employees will share their drugs with others, or they will influence them to use as well.

Reasons for Addiction for Those in the Food Service Field

There are many different reasons why the food service field is so ripe for addiction. These workers are subjected to many different troubling circumstances. Because of this, using drugs or alcohol may seem like a good solution for them. Some of the reasons why addictions are so common in this field include:

  • Because of the high stress environment: The restaurant field is an incredibly high stress field. The staff are constantly on the go, with very little time to sit down and rest. If they are short staffed for a shift, one person can end up working the entire time with no break. It is so hard to be moving all the time, without any time to decompress.
  • Because of high turnover rates: Turnover rates are extremely high in restaurants. Most of the positions they fill are entry level positions. This means that the people are generally paid minimum wage. They will all eventually move on to other careers. Students working in restaurants will graduate and move on. It is very easy for an addict to get a job working in a restaurant.
  • Because of access to substances: Substances of all kinds are so easy to access in the restaurant environment. In most cases, alcohol is available at all times. Workers will bring in drugs to share with their co-workers. In some restaurants, substance abuse is even cultivated as a just a general part of the atmosphere.
  • Because of lack of sleep: Food and beverage industry employees often work long, hard shifts. To make matters worse, one job often isn't enough for them to care for their families. They will frequently take on a second job, which can make them even more sleep deprived. Their lack of sleep can lead them to choose stimulants or other drugs to cope.
  • Because of peer pressure: In many restaurants, the staff are much like students in high school who pressure each other to use. It is almost like a family, and people tend to follow each other in what they do. Peer pressure can cause anyone to give in and use alcohol or drugs.

Do Restaurants Make it Easy for Staff Members to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol?

There are many restaurants that do make it very easy for their staff members to use. Drug abuse and alcohol abuse are prevalent in restaurants, for a number of reasons.

Because of the low level of pay, most restaurant owners don't require their employees to submit to drug tests. This tends to attract addicts because they know that they'll still be able to use and keep their jobs.

Also, it is becoming very common for restaurants to offer employees alcohol for free after their shifts. This occurs far more than most people realize. The restaurant owners most likely see it as a way to treat their employees well. For someone who is an alcoholic, it only fuels the flame of their addiction.

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Addiction Education for Accommodations Workers

There is little to no education provided for food service workers by their employers. This is something that really needs to change. The industry itself clearly has a problem with substance abuse and addiction. More needs to be done to make workers aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. If simple education was implemented in many restaurants, there may be a decrease in a lot of the above statistics.

An Addiction Quiz for Restaurant Workers Who May be Addicted

Perhaps you're a food service worker and you've been using drugs or alcohol. You feel as though it's not that big a problem for you. You're still able to come to work, and you do your job well. You may have a loving family at home. On the outside, everything in your life looks as though it's in perfect order.

Still, you may wonder if your drug abuse or alcohol abuse has turned into an addiction. There are a few ways you can tell.

The first way is by taking a quiz. This quiz will ask you a number of questions about your substance abuse. It is important for you to be honest in your answers. Remember, no one will see them but you. Your answers to these questions will give you some insight on your substance abuse problem. If you're in need of treatment, that will be indicated in your results.

Are You an Addicted Food Service Worker? Look for these Signs of Addiction

It helps to take a look at some common signs of addiction. Do any of these seem to fit you?

  • Arranging your entire life around when you'll be able to drink or use drugs
  • Spending a great deal of time with those who also use drugs or drink alcohol
  • Having legal problems that are related to your substance abuse
  • Experiencing trouble at your job because of being high or drunk
  • Having medical problems that are tied to substance abuse
  • Always looking forward to the next time you'll get to use
  • Feeling the need to use drugs or drink as soon as you wake up
  • Feeling anxious if you run out of alcohol or drugs

Can you identify with any of the above signs of addiction? If you do, you may be an alcoholic or a drug addict. It's important for you to be able to recognize this. It will help you understand what type of help you need to recover.

Reasons Restaurant Workers Fail to go to Drug Rehab or Alcohol Rehab

Restaurant workers frequently find themselves either battling alcoholism or drug addiction. However, there are so many reasons why they fail to get the treatment they need. Some of these reasons include:

  • Not being aware of the type of treatment they need. Again, there is a definite lack of education about addiction in the accommodations field. These workers are often not aware of the severity of their problems with substances.
  • Being afraid of losing their jobs. Many restaurant workers admit that they are worried they'll get fired if they admit to using. This can paralyze them, and cause them to fail to get the help they need. This is very unfortunate because professional help is exactly what they need to recover.
  • Being afraid of losing friends at work. Restaurant employees will often continue using to keep up appearances. Remember, these environments are very much like a family. People often do the things others are doing to fit in.
  • Not wanting to take time off from work. Although food service is a low paying industry, people need their paychecks. Having to go to substance abuse treatment means taking time off from work. This isn't something that many workers are willing to do.
  • Believing that they can't afford treatment. So many food service workers are unaware of how the Affordable Care Act has changed healthcare. They may have insurance, but not know that it covers drug treatment or alcohol treatment.

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Alcohol Treatment and Drug Treatment for Accommodations Staff

If you work in the accommodations industry and you have an addiction, you can get help. Addiction therapy can assist you in more ways than you realize. Drug rehab or alcohol rehab offers you so many benefits for your recovery. You'll find that you be able to:

  • Spend some time on your own truly focusing on your recovery goals.
  • Be removed from toxic environments that are only contributing to your addiction.
  • Meet with a therapist regularly to talk about your drug addiction or alcoholism.
  • Work on finding out the reasons behind your addiction. This way, you can heal more fully.
  • Meet and work with others who are also battling addictions of their own.
  • Learn how to live your life without being dependent on alcohol or drugs.

Going to alcohol treatment or drug treatment is a true investment in your future. It will only make you a more valuable worker in the long run.

Are You an Addicted Hospitality Employee? Addiction Therapy is Needed to Recover

As an addicted restaurant worker, you may have felt stuck in your addiction for a long time. You may have thought that there was no way out for you. You look to drugs or alcohol as a means to find comfort. They offer you a way to relax after a long day of being on your feet. They help you de-stress, and some days, they may be all you feel you can look forward to. The problem is that substances are not a long-term solution to any problem. They always do so much harm, and absolutely no good.

Maybe you've been in a position where you've known you needed to get treatment for your addiction. You've known you needed alcohol rehab or drug rehab, but weren't sure where to begin.

You do have options to recover, and this isn't something that you should take on by yourself. Substance abuse therapy can change your life for the better.

At Northpoint Recovery, it has been a pleasure for us to work with so many restaurant workers. We know the stress and the pressure you undergo on a daily basis. We know how difficult your job is, and we know it offers few rewards. Still, we're confident that we can provide you with hope for your recovery.

Would you like to know more about alcohol rehab and drug rehab for food service industry workers? If you would, we'd love to talk with you. Please contact us.

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