Science Confirms the Obvious: Those Who Work Around Alcohol More Likely to Abuse It

New study places drinking problems in employers’ hands

Here’s a quiz. Out of the jobs below, who do you think is most likely to have alcoholism issues? (Scroll to the bottom to see which industries ranked highest to lowest.)

Construction worker
Financier
Farmer
Truck driver
Cocktail server
Teacher
Shopgirl/guy

Need I state the obvious? A new study by The George Washington University Medical Center did. Their “Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems” team reports this week that 15 percent of those who work in the hospitality industry—bartenders; waiters and waitresses; casino, nightclub, hotel workers—suffer from serious alcohol-related problems. This tops 12 other sectors of employment. Sounds like a problem of freely available booze and late work hours to me.

The study is really geared toward helping employers help their staff—and their bottom line. Alcohol abuse contributes to lost work days and higher tolls for employee health care. The GWU team has even created a Web-based calculator for employers to realize their cost savings if they help deal with their company’s problem drinkers.

But what do you do for those who are paid to purvey the poison themselves?

Prevalence of Hazardous Alcohol Use
Data: GWU Medical Center

Cocktail server (Hospitality: 15%)
Construction (14.7%)
Wholesale trade (11.9%)
Professional (10.6%)
Shopgirl/guy (Retail trade: 9.7%)
Financier (Finance/real estate: 9.2%)
Manufacturing (8.6%)
Truck driver (Transportation/utilities 8.2%)
Information/Communication (8.1%)
Farmer (Agriculture: 7.2%)
Other services (6.4%)
Teacher (Education/social services 5.4%)
Public administration (5.3%)