Working in a restaurant is never without its challenges, and many restaurant employees choose to lament over the most recent shift’s struggles with a shift drink. The very environment of the restaurant industry sets the stage for a big restaurant industry substance abuse problem, where alcohol is readily available and often free or low cost. Communal binge drinking increases the likelihood of binge drinking in restaurants. We explore how the hospitality industry’s substance abuse and drinking struggles are perpetuated and explore options for helping workers find sobriety through our Stuart drug rehab programs.
The restaurant industry boasts the highest levels of illicit drug use among employees aged 18 to 64, with over 19% of restaurant industry employees engaging in illicit drug use. Alcoholism in the restaurant industry is almost as prevalent as addiction in the restaurant industry, with over 11% of restaurant industry employees 18 to 64 years old reporting heavy alcohol use. 1
If the statistics about alcoholism and addiction in the restaurant industry aren’t sobering enough, there’s a lot that celebrity chefs can say about the problems. The world learned about Anthony Bourdain’s struggles with addiction in several of his books, and many other chefs or restaurateur personalities have discussed the restaurant industry substance abuse problem at length.
It’s difficult for many industry employees to find help for their addiction, alcoholism, and substance abuse struggles. And when issues like drinking or alcoholism are normalized, it can be tough for individuals to recognize that they have a problem.2 Post-work shift drinks are the norm for many, and when everyone is drinking, it’s tough to recognize your own issues with alcohol or other substances.
A lot can be done to help curb addiction and alcoholism in the restaurant industry. Finding drug rehab programs to treat drug or alcohol addiction should be normalized so those who seek help do not feel ostracized for recognizing and treating their problems. The restaurant industry substance abuse problem may also be mitigated by raising awareness and normalizing sobriety in this industry.