Programme launched to prevent industry-wide addiction crisis

Programme launched by UKAT to prevent industry-wide addiction crisis

A new Addiction Awareness programme has been launched after it was revealed that more people are seeking treatment for drug and alcohol misuse than ever before.

The UK’s leading addiction treatment specialists UKAT have set-up the new free Addiction Awareness programme, aimed at helping those working in the UK scaffolding & construction industries.

The programme aims to support employers and employees as the Government continues to make further announcements about the Coronavirus crisis and the strengthening of restrictions.

UKAT recently revealed that now more people are seeking treatment for drug and alcohol misuse than ever before. And warn any dependencies to drugs or alcohol developed during the Covid-crisis could well be exacerbated as society faces uncertainty over their job security.

UKAT says 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.

Between April and August this year, UKAT admitted more clients for alcohol addiction than they have in the same time period of previous years. 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.

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

UKAT says, the programme is free and delivered by a Certified Drug and Alcohol Therapist on-site or virtually. It engages and educates workers on the signs, symptoms, and the local support services available.


UKAT’s Head of Treatment, Nuno Albuquerque, told Scaffmag the importance of taking preventative action in order to protect staff, he said: “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 scaffolding and construction industries.

“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 added: “We are a country of hard workers, with some of the hardest working in the 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.”

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