Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Cocaine in the City: not so much a reward system - more a way to keep going

According to a report in yesterday’s Financial Times, the use of cocaine remains a serious problem among City workers in spite of rising unemployment and lower wages following the credit crunch.

A spokesman for The Priory psychiatric hospital in north London, told the FT that the number of bankers coming for treatment had risen significantly over the past three years, even when taking account of a large dip after the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.

The Priory spokesman earlier told MPs on the parliamentary home affairs committee that people working in financial services were more likely to run into problems with powdered cocaine abuse than other elements of society. "They often have a high-pressure job and will often start using it not so much as a reward system but as a way to keep themselves going," he said.

Recent Home Office figures show that Britons are the biggest consumers of cocaine in Europe, with at least one million people estimated to have taken the drug in the past year. About 12,000 people are being treated for their use of powdered cocaine.

  • Are you surprised by the figures quoted in the report above?
  • What do you believe that organisations should do to minimise the incidence of drug use in or around the workplace?
  • Bankers "often have a high-pressure job and will often start using it not so much as a reward system but as a way to keep themselves going." What do you think of this statement?


  1. So you’re tired but the work still needs to be done. The wings that you used to get consuming Red Bull don’t seem to be working, the Pro Plus box is empty and the espresso machine is broken from over use.

    It’s not yet time for that bottle of wine you now seem to be consuming every night to relax (which is silently piling on the pounds and damaging your liver) so how are you going to get survive?

    Whilst I wouldn’t have the first idea of where to go to purchase such a product I can understand how people in these kinds of high-pressure jobs do turn to various stimulants to help them through. It just so happens that cocaine is on the wrong side of acceptable (unlike wine or 30 year old malt).

    How to avoid this? Well organisations can’t stop cocaine being available nor can they stop their employees purchasing it. What they can do is change the culture such that expressing concerns about work load is not seen as weakness but seen as a positive move, where the balance between work and home life is seen as an important balance to maintain and where seeking help re any emotional issues is encouraged.

    So do tell - what does the editorial team of HR Case Studies do when additional stimulation is required?


  2. EBTG: Very strong coffee and copious amounts of cheap sweets normally do the trick for me. The combination of caffeine and sugar rush can be quite uplifting!