We need to talk about alcoholism in pharmacy

 

In response to the following article:

 

“I’m a pharmacist and I think I might be an alcoholic”

 

Dear PIP editor,

 

This article is a superb insight into how stress can spiral into alcoholism and the impact it can have. We now need to talk about alcoholism in pharmacy.

 

Alcohol use is not spoken about enough in pharmacy and aligned to this we hear about mental health problems too. I am personally now concerned that we really have not addressed some of the stress factors in the profession to a tangible level.

 

We must do more work together and bring about change. We seem to just put up with it and it is creating unsafe working environments. These conditions are risking patient safety and making some pharmacists ill.

 

I met a colleague in August who was overworked and had been drinking. The stress had also impacted on her mental health and was now receiving treatment for anxiety and depression. She paints a similar picture to the author here and cited targets, high workloads and low staffing. She talked to me about the fact that in a long shift she was not afforded a lunch break.

 

What has the profession done to resolve these points?

 

Thirty miles from where I live a non-pharmacy business is prosecuted and fined by the Health & Safety Executive for not honouring safety standards and break arrangements.

 

How long is the profession going to permit health and safety breaches futuristically?

 

Andrew Jukes is Director at Select Pharmacy Services Limited.

 

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