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.
Part of the problem when treating addiction, according to the report, is that “City workers do not like to admit that they have relinquished control”.
It states: “To date, drug and/or alcohol prevention work with workers or business in the City has been of limited scope and of unknown efficacy.”
The review added that time-poor City workers found public health addiction services for the Square Mile, run in neighbouring Hackney, were “useful” but too far away.
Anti-addiction services in the City cost £430,000 annually. A focus on prevention follows a policy shift by Public Health England, the review states.
Mr Kingdon said addiction advice tended to be offered only “after the horse has bolted”.
He said: “We see men who are alpha males aged from about 25 to 45 years old, and are also seeing more women now, predominantly for alcohol, who experience blackouts.
“I’m seeing them because [addiction] has a knock-on effect on their loved ones or their job.”
original article taken from the London Evening Standard - http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/city-firms-told-to-warn-employees-about-risk-of-drug-and-alcohol-addiction-9250551.html