Hospitality and Addiction Recovery

Key facts about substance use in the hospitality industry

A 2015 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that the food and hospitality industry has the highest rates of substance use disorders, and the third-highest rates of heavy alcohol use, of all employment sectors.

  • Illicit use of full-time workers, aged 18–64, was nearly 20 percent among workers in the food services industry, compared with an overall rate of 8.6 percent among the general working population.
  • Rates of addiction among workers in the hospitality industry were 16.9 percent, compared to 9.5 percent among the general working population.
  • Comparisons between substance use behavior in 2003–2007 data versus 2008–2012 data showed an increase (from 16.9 percent to 19.1 percent).

The hospitality industry is becoming more recovery-friendly

In recent years, the alcohol-free market has boomed. Drinking zero-proof cocktails is no longer uncool. And that’s not all that has changed. In 2016, after losing their friend Ben Murray to addiction, restaurateurs Mickey Bakst and Steve Palmer started a support group for those in the restaurant industry struggling with addiction, called Ben’s Friends. The emergence of hospitality staff in recovery and the popularity of the zero-proof drinks market have revolutionized the industry.



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