Programme launches to prevent employee addiction crisis

e UK’s leading addiction treatment specialists UKAT have launched a new Addiction Awareness programme, aimed at helping those working in the Building & Construction trade across the country.

The programme is set to support employers and employees as the Government makes further announcements about the 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 to work properly.

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 workers 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;

“We know that as an employer, the employees come first. Looking after the mental well-being of your workforce is not just beneficial for them, it’s beneficial for your 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 you money.

“Those who are uncomfortable in opening up about addiction are likely to silently suffer, which could lead to them being unable to carry out their duties, increasing the possibility of a health and safety risk; not a risk worth taking in the building and construction industry.

“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 workforce 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, with some of the hardest working in the building and construction trade, 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.

“What is important is that employers who care about the mental health and well-being of their staff take proactive steps to mitigate their own addiction crisis down the line.”

To book your free slot on the Addiction Awareness Programme, visit