Substance Abuse in the Service Industry
July 26, 2010
Substance abuse can begin for many different reasons and each person’s personal drug of choice can vary which is why it is such a large problem in our country and specifically in the restaurant/bar business, as we will discuss. Walking into your favorite restaurant, smelling the waves of delicious fragrances and anticipating the first bite of your favorite dish is the way that most people imagine their preferred eatery but what they do not know is that often they could find almost any type of drug within the building if they searched thoroughly enough. Drug use and alcoholism are problems common within the restaurant and bar business, for various reasons including easy access and a generally less educated demographic. “Nationally, 22.3 million persons aged 12 or older in 2007-2008 were classified with dependence on or abuse of illicit drugs or alcohol in the past year. Of these, 6.9 million were dependent on or had abused illicit drugs, and 18.5 million were dependent on or had abused alcohol” (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov). Obviously, these numbers do not represent only restaurant and bar employees but many of them are a part of these numbers. In this paper, we will look at what substance abuse is, how addicts can be helped and how to prevent future abuses.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial” (www.step12.com). Alcoholism affects mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors, and everyone else in between. Alcoholics can be the bums you see on the street corner begging for some change so they can get a bottle of booze but alcoholics can also be the soccer mom taking her kids to school events after drinking a bottle of wine in the afternoon to relax from the stress of her responsibilities. There are many different faces of alcoholism but the disease functions the same way in all of those people. They deny they have a problem but they wake up and cannot remember where they were or what they were doing. They spend all day at work dreaming of that bottle waiting for them when they get home or worse they have a secret stash of bottles with them at work to help them get through the day. They crave a drink and once they start drinking they cannot stop until they are falling down or passing out drunk. Alcoholism can be difficult to spot at times because many people are quite good at hiding how bad their problem is out of fear of rejection or disapproval.
Similarly, as defined by the World Health Organization: “Drug addiction is a state of periodic and chronic intoxication detrimental to the individual and to society, produced by the repeated consumption of a drug (natural or synthetic). Its characteristics include: (1) An overpowering desire or need (compulsion) to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by any means; (2) A tendency to increase the dose; (3) A psychic (psychological) and sometimes a physical dependence on the effects of the drug” (http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/dacd/appendixa_3.htm). Drug addiction includes the abuse of any type of legal, illegal, natural or synthetic substance. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug but other drugs in this category include heroin, morphine, cocaine, and LSD. The abuse of prescription drugs has in recent years become an increasing problem. Children are getting into their parents medicine cabinets and taking any pills they can in order to get high....
References: Office of Applied Studies (2008). Substance Dependence, Abuse, and Treatment Need.
Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k8state/Ch5.htm
Schaffer Library of Drug Policy (2008)
Alcoholics Anonymous (1956). A.A. Fact File. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://
TIPS (2005). TIPS Homepage. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://www.gettips.com/
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