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Programme launches to prevent workplace addiction crisis

The UK’s leading addiction treatment specialists UKAT have launched a new Addiction Awareness programme for businesses across the country.

The programme is set to support employers and employees from all business types as the Government is encouraging those who can, to work from home during the current Coronavirus crisis, during which it is revealed that more people are seeking treatment for drug and alcohol misuse than ever before.

Experts at UKAT warn any dependencies to drugs or alcohol developed during the Covid-crisis could well be exacerbated as society faces uncertainty over their job security.

Eventually, this in turn could result in rising sickness and absence rates once employees are back in the workplace.

One particular substance widely associated with workplace stress is alcohol.

UKAT has revealed that between April and August this year, they’ve admitted more clients for alcohol addiction than they have in the same time period of previous years.

Between April and August 2020, a staggering 79% of all admissions were for alcohol addiction. This is compared to during the same four months of 2017, where only 56% of all admissions were for alcohol addiction.

This, they say, could present real problems for employers trying to support their staff during this difficult time. People could turn to using alcohol heavily in order to cope with the stresses derived from the recent Coronavirus crisis. Added pressure from job security and the potential fear of redundancy could turn people to alcohol as a coping strategy.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) says that all organisations – large and small – can benefit from agreed policies on drug and alcohol misuse and they recommend that employers identify if there is a problem and then take measurable action to protect their staff.

This is where the UK Addiction Treatment Group Addiction Awareness Programme can help.

The programme is free, delivered by a Certified Drug and Alcohol Therapist on site or virtually and engages and educates staff on the signs, symptoms, and local support services available.

UKAT’s Head of Treatment, Nuno Albuquerque, explains the importance of taking preventative action in order to protect staff;

“Looking after staff’s mental wellbeing is not just beneficial for them, it’s beneficial for the business too. Employees who feel supported by management will always find it easier to stay in work or return quicker after any absences, which ultimately saves the business money.

“Those who are uncomfortable in opening up about addiction are likely to suffer in silence, which could lead to them being unable to carry out their duties, increasing the possibility of a health and safety risk.

“We understand that this is a sensitive subject and one that should be discussed with experts. That’s what we’re here to do. Together, we can help your employees and in turn, help you and your business thrive during these difficult times.”

It’s not only UKAT’s figures which suggest proactive steps need to be taken.

A survey by DrugScope and Alcohol Concern found that 27% of employers said that drug misuse was a problem at work and that 60% have experienced problems due to staff drinking alcohol.

Nuno concludes;

“We are a country of hard workers, and the Coronavirus crisis has had to change everyone’s routines and normality. During these unprecedented times, some will struggle and some will turn to substances like alcohol to cope with the fear and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. Addiction does not discriminate and can hit anyone at anytime.

“What is important is that employers who care about the mental health and wellbeing of their employees take proactive steps to mitigate their own crisis further down the line.”

To book your free slot on the Addiction Awareness Programme, visit www.ukat.co.uk/business-addiction-awareness-programme/v55/