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Drug Use in Restaurant Industry Workers

The restaurant industry is known for many things, such as long hours, a reliance on tips for payment, dealing with complicated customer requests, and drug addiction. The not-so-secret of drug use among restaurant workers being rampant is virtually public knowledge at this point. For many, it is the place where they first witnessed addiction in person. But why is drug use for a restaurant employee such a common and somewhat accepted part of labor? And what are the repercussions of such widely accepted, and sometimes even encouraged, behavior for these employees? 

7 Minute Read | Published Sep 06 2023 | Updated Feb 23 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by

Better Addiction Care will answer both of these questions in hopes that you can better understand what a co-worker, friend, family member, or yourself is going through. Our team has years of experience as providers of free resources for those seeking addiction treatment, and we are looking to help make situations better whenever possible. Hopefully, knowledge can be the stepping stone to finding the help so many people need.

Why is Drug Use in the Restaurant Industry So Rampant? 

Drug use in restaurant industry workers is common. It is so common, in fact, that in some kitchens and some service area floors, it is not uncommon to find multiple drug users working while high on a variety of substances.

There are many contributing factors that lead to this practice being so common, chief of which would be the ease at which a worker can find a reason for using drugs as it correlates to some aspect of their employment. Things such as spending long hours on your feet, stress from customers or management, or even the simple fact of boredom during a slow period, drug use in the restaurant industry is justified in the eyes of workers and management alike.

It can be especially tempting for some to start using drugs if there are younger workers around older workers. The younger workers might think of the older ones as mentors or peers, depending on the relationship. They may see a more established member of their professional circle partaking in such activities and follow suit, mirroring the cycles of addiction present in many adolescents during their teenage years.

Adding to the issue is that restaurants that drug test their workers regularly are few and far between. There are other issues to keep in mind that should be addressed whenever the subject of drug use in restaurant industry workers is analyzed.

Potential Dangers of Being an Addicted Restaurant Worker 

Do restaurants drug test workers? In theory, yes, but it is not as common as many would believe for workers to undergo these examinations. Aside from professional issues, the health of workers is put at risk when they become addicted to alcohol or other substances. 

Speaking of health, many substances can lead to overdoses and potential physical dependence. Weight loss, lack of sleep, and more can lead to feelings of fatigue. If some of these symptoms are paired with the typical odd hours of employment that restaurant workers tend to have, then serious tolls on mental health can occur.

Drug use in restaurant industry workers is an issue, but it does not have to be permanent. Through local alcohol or drug addiction treatment programs and centers, these workers can sidestep addiction and become sober members of society once again. The first step in all of this is to be well-informed through the use of free resources that can connect them with the treatment they may need.

Find the Right National Drug Abuse Treatment Center 

If you, someone you work with, or even someone you know outside of your employment is currently experiencing the issue of drug use in restaurant industry workers and is ready to change their lives for the better, then be sure to make use of Better Addiction Care’s resources. Our team of experts provides everything from substance abuse and treatment articles to keep the public well-informed to a national directory of drug and alcohol abuse treatment facilities for free online.

Learning about what condition you may be dealing with or what measures you can take to get on the path to sobriety should not cost money, and when you enlist the help of our team, it won’t. Get in touch with our team if you have any questions regarding how we can connect you to the right treatment facility today. 

Related Readings 


bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021).
"The Opioid Crisis: The Impact on the Restaurant Industry Workforce."
Retrieved on November 08, 2022
bullet National Restaurant Association. (n.d.).
"Substance Abuse in the Restaurant Workplace: A Guide for Employers."
Retrieved on November 08, 2022
bullet Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2019).
"Opioid Misuse in the Restaurant Industry."
Retrieved on November 08, 2022
bullet Bartender Magazine. (2019).
"Substance Abuse in the Hospitality Industry."
Retrieved on November 08, 2022
bullet National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (n.d.).
"Substance Abuse in the Food Service Industry."
Retrieved on November 08, 2022
bullet Forbes. (2018).
"The Dark Side of the Restaurant Industry: Substance Abuse."
Retrieved on November 08, 2022
bullet Eater. (2018).
"Substance Abuse in the Restaurant Industry Isn’t New, But It’s Time to Talk"
Retrieved on November 08, 2022

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