Professionals with drug and alcohol problems

Drug & alcohol problems at work

How widespread is addiction?

Alcohol and drug addiction are widespread and affect people from all walks of life and in every country in the world.

It is impossible to put an exact number on the amount of alcoholics and drug addicts there are worldwide, this is due in part to the secretive nature of addiction, (a lot of drinking and using goes on behind closed doors). But statistics have been developed from official figures of people in rehab treatment and alcohol/drug related deaths.


According to Alcoholics Anonymous:

  • After smoking, alcoholism kills more people in the UK than any other drug. One adult in 13 is dependant on drink, according to Government statistics.
  • 33,000 people die each year due to alcohol-related incidents or associated health problems.
  • Alcohol is involved in 15% of road accidents, 26% of drownings, and 36% of death in fires.
  • A quarter of accidents at work are drink-related.

It is estimated that there are over 2 million members of Alcoholics Anonymous worldwide. 

“Europe is home to the world's heaviest drinkers...Europeans knocked back 79 billion liters of alcohol in 2006, or 101.25 liters for every person... while in the Asia Pacific region, it was just 22.1.  Nearly all the top 15 biggest drinking nations are in Central or Eastern Europe. Poverty and the harsh climate, particularly in Russia, play a part, as does the tradition of drinking.” - Forbes


A study undertaken by the UK's National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) found that a total of 1,064 people in England began receiving treatment for cocaine addiction in 2005-06. But that number had soared to 6,846 in 2008-09.


There are estimated to be 360,000 – 451,000 problem gamblers in the UK and this figure is rising.

Early detection of addiction

Early recognition of the signs of addiction is vital in order to stop the slide of a person into a deepening disease. It is estimated that 50% of problem drinkers remain undetected and therefore untreated.