Is alcoholism a problem among bartenders?

21st July, 2014 by Amy Hopkins
bartender alcoholism

A number of charities recognise the “hazardous” effects of bartenders’ drinking habits

Grave effects

“While people who aren’t used to being around such large quantities of alcohol may be tempted to over-consume, bartenders often become desensitised,” she said. “There’s still some binge drinking but it’s certainly much different to what it used to be – the drinks industry has started to take a good look at itself.”

But beyond any reputational damage habitual drinking behind the bar might cause, could the effects on a bartender’s health be all the more grave?

In 2011, Business Insider magazine reported that bartenders were the most likely professional group to die from alcohol abuse in the US. Looking at death certificates of white American males compiled by the

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the publication concluded that bartenders were 2.33 times more likely to die from alcohol-related issues than the average.

NIOSH recorded 294 alcohol-related deaths among 8,361 white males. Business Insider also noted that among white American women, bartenders were also the most likely professional group to die from alcohol abuse.

“Hazardous” drinking in the industry

The Licensed Trade Charity’s Support & Care arm, which seeks to support trade members through emotional and financial support, claims to “recognise the issue of hazardous drinking across the industry, which is a real concern”.

Kath Gill, head of Support & Care, says: “Independent research has shown that more publicans and bar staff suffer from cirrhosis and other alcohol-related health problems than people in other jobs. For many people, working in pubs is a lifestyle choice and not just a job, but with that comes the risk of alcohol dependency.”

Another UK charity, Hospitality Action, similarly acknowledges a prevalence of alcohol dependency among the hospitality sector, including the on-trade, claiming that as much as 15% of the industry suffers with alcohol or drug dependency, compared with a 9% UK average.

“We believe that the hospitality industry is particularly prone to alcohol and drug abuse,” says Penny Moore, CEO of the organisation. “This is definitely just as much of a problem now as it ever was.
“Employers are becoming more responsible with regards to their policies, but excessive consumption remains the same. It’s too easy to turn a blind eye to this and something more needs to be done.”

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