Workplace Trouble: Survey Reveals Sharp Escalation in Restaurant/Food Service Employee Drug Abuse

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Novus Medical Detox Center comments on the dramatic drug abuse rise among restaurant workers that is believed to be motivated by long hours and need to keep up.

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Creating a drug free environment through random drug tests, observing behavior and making it easier to get help can dramatically assist in reducing the negative impact of drug use on the workplace.

The federal government and business communities across the nation have become increasingly aware of the impact drinking and substance abuse is having on lost productivity, workplace accidents and injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale, and increased illness. Financial loss is tagged in the billions per year. [1] Will Wesch, Director of Admissions for Novus Medical Detox Center in New Port Richey, Florida, urges employers to take a proactive stance in combating substance abuse in their business to protect both the health of the company and the health and productivity of their employees.

Recently, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that when it comes to illicit and prescription drug abuse, the food preparation and service industry stand out from any other occupation with 19% reporting drug use in the past month. This is a rise from nearly 17% in 2007. Significantly, most other occupations report declines. [2]
To be counted in this statistic, substance use would either need to interfere with the ability to do work, cause legal trouble or interpersonal problems, or otherwise put the user in danger. As the restaurants business is very unforgiving about achieving bottom line profits – sustaining a 60% failure rate and surviving at profit margins as low as 5% – employee drug abuse this high can have a potentially catastrophic effect on the industry. Because workers are taking drugs to facilitate their performance in a fast paced and physically demanding work environment, once the high begins to wear off they take more drugs to maintain productivity, a use pattern marked by accelerated drug dependence.

“The first thing that Human Resources needs to establish or promote is an Employee Assistance Program (EPA) and be aware not only of the problem of ‘productivity drugs’ but also the right program to refer workers to that can really handle it,” Wesch said. “Creating a drug free environment through random drug tests, observing behavior and making it easier to get help can dramatically assist in reducing the negative impact of drug use on the workplace,” he added. [3]

Wesch also remarked that a key ingredient is to find medical detox centers and rehab centers that have been proven to be effective – one tailored to the individual for best results. As an abrupt discontinuation of prescription drugs is highly discouraged and dangerous, employers must seek out a program for employees that is medically supervised with integrated medicine to allow the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.

Without effective help, drug abuse in the workplace will only grow and become an even greater hidden influence of failing business and struggling profit margins.

“Effective programs are in place; now is the time to use them,” added Wesch.

For more information about Novus and its detox and addiction programs, visit

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center is a Joint Commission Accredited inpatient medical detox facility that offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is also licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families and is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient. By incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment, Novus tailors the detox process for each patient, putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television and high-speed Internet access. Novus’ expansion is tied to their contribution to their industry and their local community, ranking number 48 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2014 Fast 50 Awards list of the fastest-growing companies in Tampa Bay, and number 2,936 on the 2014 Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America. For more information, visit

1. “How Illicit Drug use Affects Business and the Economy.” Web. May 24, 2011

2. Substance Use and Substance Use Disorder by Industry. Web. April 16, 2015

3. Drugs and the Workplace. NCADD. Web. No date.

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Karla Jo Helms
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