Big rise in London City workers' drug problems

Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:21am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Drug problems among workers in London's financial district have rocketed in the last year because of stresses caused by the recession, according to the founder of a rehabilitation center.

Don Serratt, chief executive of Life Works, said they had seen about a 25 percent increase in the number of people from the City seeking treatment for alcohol and cocaine abuse in the last few months.

"It has a lot to do with the current economic environment," said Serratt, himself a former alcoholic and addict.

"Either they have been made redundant or (they have) fears around being made redundant or fears around lowered income because many of these people have high personal overheads," he told Reuters.

"Even if you keep your job but you are looking at making a fraction of what you made, it adds quite a bit of stress."

On Tuesday, Dr Neil Brener, medical director at London's Priory Clinic which has treated many celebrities for drug issues, said City workers were those most likely to suffer cocaine problems.

"Certainly people working in the financial industry are more likely to run into problems," he told members of parliament (MPs) on the Home Affairs Select Committee.

"They have a very high pressure job and they often start using it, not so much as a reward system but as a system to try and keep themselves going in highly pressured situations."   Continued...