Reversing the addiction crisis


Examining the insidious effects addiction has on the American workforce – including hospitality

For decades, millions of Americans have been living with a public health crisis that’s killing the equivalent of a 747 plane crash every day. This tragedy is caused by substance use disorder (SUD), a treatable medical condition. Yet shame and judgment make it a crisis no one wants to discuss. While all of this sounds daunting, there is hope. That hope comes from evidence-based solutions that can help change the course of this addiction crisis.

To help save the 49 million people struggling with substance use disorder and the millions more family and friends, the time is now for everyone to work to make addiction safe to talk about in our communities, around our kitchen tables, and – most importantly – in the conference rooms of America.

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The hospitality industry isn’t immune to SUD. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, employees of restaurants and hotels have the highest rates of substance use out of the entire American workforce. Service occupations, such as those in the food and hospitality industries, had the second highest proportion of workers with substance use disorders at 15.6%. A substance use disorder doesn’t just affect employees themselves and their families; businesses lose enormous sums every year as a result of the issue in the form of higher healthcare costs, absenteeism, and presenteeism (when employees are at work, but not fully productive).

With substance use rising across the United States, now is the time for the hospitality industry to show its support and be a part of the solution. Hospitality companies have access to millions of employees who need resources and to millions of customers who may need support.

Shatterproof is available to work with companies to create solutions and support. A national nonprofit that believes no one should suffer or die from a substance use disorder, a preventable and treatable disease, Shatterproof provides trusted guidance to communities, removes systemic and social barriers to recovery, and mobilizes the country to advocate for change and to end addiction stigma. Shatterproof harnesses the models of business, the rigor of science, and the power of a national movement to create change and save lives through three pillars of work: transforming addiction treatment, ending addiction stigma, and educating and empowering our communities.

Through a specially designed approach for the unique and diverse workforce that comprises the hospitality industry, Shatterproof uses educational programs, training, storytelling, employee support, employee engagement, thought leadership, and customer engagement to make a change and provide support. Shatterproof works with companies to become a best-in-class employer, supporting substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery, creating judgment-free workplaces that support those struggling with SUD and their families, as well as position those companies to corporate leaders in addressing this rising public health crisis. In addition, the work reduces the stigma employees have toward their fellow employees impacted by SUD and the self-stigma that employees impacted by SUD have toward themselves.

Some hotels have already started to adopt this work. Working with their human resources teams, Shatterproof customizes the Shatterproof Just Five employee education platform and holds powerful town hall events with authentic and open discussions around SUD. It has been shared that team members appreciated that they had started bringing this treatable medical condition to the forefront at their company. Culture change within their company departments has also been reported. Rather than happy hours, they started seeing teams get together for hikes.

reversing the addiction crisis

For so long, addiction has been in the shadows, but with the support and engagement of the hospitality industry, it’s being brought into the light.

Last year, Rose, a hotel employee in Los Angeles, felt welcome and supported at a Shatterproof Walk. She came to the stage and shared with the hundreds of people at that Walk her milestone of three months of recovery. She was so proud, but more importantly, she was celebrated and not shamed.

Imagine if they all helped lead the way to break down stigma. Imagine if every hotel had a Walk team where we could show that community support. Together, Shatterproof and the industry would reduce those daunting numbers shared earlier and increase the number of people in recovery from 22 million to millions more.

The time is now to unite and help save the lives of loved ones, employees, customers, and those in your communities. Together, we will move closer to reversing the addiction crisis in the United States and shielding millions of families from its shattering effects.

Learn more about Shatterproof at If you are interested in learning more about how Shatterproof can help your company, contact Kirsten at Seckler .


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