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Across the UK rates of addiction are rising at a dramatic rate. At present, almost one in five adults are drinking at problematic levels, while reports are stating that gambling problems could be eight times higher than originally thought.

The country is then battling with rising opioid and cocaine problems, all of which is having a significant impact on the workplace.

In fact, for those that have been through drug intervention and sought help, the root of the problem in many cases is the stress of work. That’s the case with some industries more than others, though, and many studies have uncovered which are more susceptible to employees suffering from addiction than others.

Hospitality workers

The stats show that typically people working in hospitality, and particularly the restaurant industry are most likely to struggle with drinking and substance abuse. A survey found that around 17% of people working within the sector had substance use disorders, while one in five are users of drugs.

That’s significantly higher when it comes to alcohol consumption, with long hours in which a person is public facing a key cause of that, while accessibility to alcohol is also much higher than any other industry.


For similar reasons, the healthcare sector also suffers with high levels of addiction. Again, long hours contribute to this and the requirement to be always switched on. Although naturally it can also provide a lot of stress, particularly when it comes to some of the difficult sights and scenarios they find themselves in.

A study from around a decade ago found that more than 50% of doctors misused alcohol, while prescription drugs are also commonly abused by many in the sector as they look to navigate the stresses of their day-to-day.

Arts and entertainment workers

There’s a real misconception in the artspace that substances unlock creativity, and that’s something that’s stuck for decade upon decade. Around 14% of people working in the industry regularly use drugs, alongside one in 10 heavily drinking.

You only have to see the dozens of famous stars that have spoken out about their problems with addiction to see just how problematic it is in the sector. There’s almost this understanding that it’s part and parcel of the job. But as we know, it isn’t. And it’s destroying many careers and lives.

Legal professionals

Many white collar businesses and industries are battling cocaine problems at the minute, partcularly in major cities. Lawyers are especially struggling, and particularly those at the very start of their career. Around one in five lawyers are problem drinkers, often used as a coping mechanism in a role that’s high stress and high intensity. 

But it isn’t limited to just the legal profession, with the finance sector also having addiction problems, with more needed to be done by employers to rectify this.

Of course, the current climate as a whole is playing a large part in this, but there’s no doubt that in the likes of hospitality and across the arts, systematic change is required to protect employees and ensure that addiction and substance abuse in the space becomes a thing of the past.