- The hospitality industry is as diverse as any industry in America. Its workers are made up of professionals with college educations and entry level workers with and without high school diplomas. And, like most other industries made up primarily of small businesses, it also is at risk for substance abuse among its workers.
- Small businesses may be particularly vulnerable to problems of drug abuse among their employees because drug abusers will seek work at smaller firms where the likelihood of drug testing is slim.1
- The hospitality industry traditionally draws heavily from the pool of 18- to 34-year-old job seekers, a segment of the American population that is at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use. Among young adults age 18-20, 18 percent are currently illicit drug users; 12 percent of those age 21-25 and 8 percent of those age 26-34 also are current drug users.2
- The future work force is also at risk for alcohol and other drug abuse. Substance abuse among American teens is increasing at an alarming rateup 33 percent in the past year; up 78 percent in past three years.3
- The hospitality industry, which includes hotel/motel companies and eating and drinking places, as well as those companies related to them, has experienced high rates of substance abuse among its workers. By specific occupations, hospitality industry workers report substance abuse at the following levels:4
Food Preparers 16.3 27.6 16.3 Grounds Keepers 11.4 21.0 9.8 Janitors 13.0 20.6 10.3 Maids 7.9 12.8 3.6 Waiters, Waitresses 15.4 28.9 12.1
- Overall, in the hotel/motel industry, more than 9 percent of employees admit to using illegal drugs within the past 30 days. Seventeen percent indicate they have used illegal drugs sometime during the past year, and nearly 10 percent admit to heavy alcohol use.5
- Among employees at "eating and drinking places," over 16 percent admit to using illegal drugs during the past month, while 28 percent say they have used such drugs sometime during the past year. More than 15 percent admit to heavy alcohol use.6
- Substance abusers do not make good employees. A study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service of workers who had tested positive in pre-employment drug tests, but were hired anyway, reveal the following:
- nearly 70 percent were involuntarily discharged in less than two-and-a-half years;
- almost 60 percent were more likely to be heavy users of leave; and
- by the 33rd month, those testing positive were absent about 66 percent more often than those who had tested negative.7
- Workplace substance abuse prevention programs have yielded impressive results in the hospitality industry. When Ramada Corporation introduced an employee assistance program at its hotels and restaurants, absenteeism among its participants was reduced by 50 percent, and accidents fell by 82 percent.8
- A study of 700 substance-abusing employees in the hospitality industry who remained on the job after receiving treatment through an employee assistance program produced the following results:
- job-related injuries fell from 9 percent to 5 percent;
- tardiness was decreased from 39 percent to 7 percent;
- absenteeism dropped from 42 percent to 5 percent;
- job errors fell from 32 percent to 6 percent; and
- failure to complete assigned tasks dropped from 23 percent to 5 percent.9
- According to a survey of 400 Hardee's fast-food establishments, 23 percent said they had initiated substance abuse prevention programs; 57 percent of those companies reported a positive financial impact, including reduced employee turnover and absenteeism.10
- From large international corporations to relatively small establishments, more and more hospitality industry companies are implementing and maintaining programs to ensure that their work forces are productive, their workplaces are safe, and the success of their businesses is not hindered by substance abuse.
- Available from Working Partners are sample case studies of hospitality-related companies that have effectively addressed workplace substance abuse.
Company Success Stories
Chicago Hotel Has No Reservations about Insisting on a Drug-Free Workplace
Marriott Hotels See Positive Results from Drug Testing
1"Mangan, D. "An Rx for Drug Abuse." Small Business Reports 17, no. 5 (May 1993):1,32.
21995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1996.
4"Drug Abuse Among U.S. Workers: Prevalence and Trends By Occupation and Industry Categories," U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1996.
7"An Empirical Evaluation of Pre-Employment Drug Testing in the United States Postal Service: Interim Report on Findings," Drugs in the Workplace: Research and Evaluation Data. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1989.
8Klebanow, Andrew M. And Robert W. Eder. "Cost Effectiveness of Substance Abuse Treatment in Casino Hotels." Cornell H.R.A. Quarterly. February 1992, 58.
10Boddie-Noell Enterprises. "Just Say No" Survey. Rocky Mount, North Carolina, 1990.
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