Prevention is better than cure, but hospitality employers cannot ignore those who are already victims of drink and drug abuse, warns Harry Murray, managing director of Lucknam Park and Master Innholder
At last year's Cateys I was delighted to see Ark Foundation founder Michael Quinn and Peter Kay receive a special award for their years of dedication to helping prevent young people in the industry fall victim to drink and drugs.
As employers and managers we should all be aware of this growing problem, not only in our industry but in the country as a whole.
Many staff turn to alcohol or drugs through stress, pressure of work and unsocial hours and, of course, alcohol has always been easily accessible in the industry. We all have a responsibility to identify such people before the consequences of overindulgence take hold, leading to damaged health, the break-up of a marriage or a car accident involving innocent victims.
I would like to suggest that the subject of alcohol and drug misuse is included on the agenda at inductions and health and safety meetings and is highlighted in the staff handbook. All senior staff should be trained to look for warning signs.
If a member of staff was diagnosed with cancer, we would sympathise and offer help, but many people look at alcoholics and drug addicts as the misfits of society and turn away hoping the problem will disappear.
Thanks to Hospitality Action, and the ongoing drive of Michael and Peter, funds and support groups are now available to help those who need them. There are also seminars run by reformed victims to help young people avoid the dangers.
You may have seen the advertising campaign in which Marco, Heston, Raymond and Anton highlight how a fall from grace awaits those who succumb to excessive use of drink and drugs. Of course, alcohol and drug abuse can strike at all levels of the career ladder, and the higher the position the more it can affect other people's lives.
So please show your support and become a member of Hospitality Action for just £25 per year. To find out more, call 0870 351 0160 or visit the website, www.hospitalityaction.org.uk. Your membership can make a real difference.
For more on Caterer‘s Drink and drugs in hospitality Be Aware Campaign go to www.caterersearch.com/beaware
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