City firms told to warn employees about risk of drug and alcohol addiction
City firms should do more to warn their employees about the risk of drug and alcohol addiction, an official report has claimed.
by MARK BLUNDEN
An investigation by City of London Corporation found that while treatment and support were available, not enough was being done to prevent addiction taking hold.
Square Mile addiction specialist Richard Kingdon said some City workers could take up to three grammes of cocaine a day, often to keep them going after heavy nights out.
Mr Kingdon, of City Beacon, added that last month was particularly busy for counsellors as staff who stopped drinking for January went “back on it”. Today he urged financial, insurance and legal firms to discuss the dangers of addiction more openly with their staff, saying: “Speaking about drugs in the City is still taboo.”
The corporation’s review of drug and alcohol services, due to be presented tomorrow, states: “Within the City worker population, there is a particular risk-taking culture that may contribute to the development of health issues and addictions.
“This has the potential to impact on both City workers and their employers. There is also potential to research the role of City employers as ‘enablers’.”
The review found that combined use of cocaine and alcohol could contribute to violent crime in the Square Mile.
The drugs don’t work, they just make you worse
The highly-publicised case of Paul Flowers, the disgraced former chairman of the Co-op Bank, filmed allegedly buying drugs, has put the spotlight on the use and misuse of drugs and alcohol by senior employees. What role does human resources play in developing and enforcing drug and alcohol policies in City firms? Is the culture of drug use in certain segments of the financial services sector in the City widespread, or is it just a case of negative media publicity?
As the song goes, “the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse”. The reality however is that the message of the song has yet to sink into UK society, where the level of alcohol and drug use is frightening: 26 percent of men and 18 percent of women drank more than the recommended 21 units in an average week, according to the NHS Information Centre in England in 2009. Around one-third of adults have taken an illicit drug in their lifetime, according to the 2012 to 2013 Crime Survey for England and Wales.
Alcohol and drugs impact on workplace rising significantly
City businesses are facing significant challenges in managing staff with alcohol and substance abuse problems, warns GQ Employment Law, a specialist London employment law firm.
GQ Employment Law says that the problem is increasingly being caused by growing pressure to meet tougher targets as banks struggle to maintain their profitability because of stricter regulatory capital requirements. Paul Quain, Partner at GQ Employment Law, comments, “Managing staff with alcohol or drug addiction problems can be a very significant issue for City employers.” “Addiction to drugs and alcohol can be widespread in the City because the staff work long hours, face more stress than ever before, and are often expected to entertain clients in the evening.
In the City that never sleeps. . . traders stay up on ‘smart’ drugs
Ambitious executives in the world of high finance are increasingly turning to a “smart” drug to stop them falling asleep, the founder of a City addiction clinic says.
A growing number of businessmen and women seeking an edge over colleagues and competitors are taking modafinil, a drug designed to treat narcolepsy, a disorder that causes people suddenly to fall asleep.
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