Mr. Ferry

Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt

The Hidden Drug Menace

By Steven Ferry, Chairman, International Institute of Modern Butlers

The hospitality industry is based, well, on the concept of hospitality, a word that comes to us from Latin hospitalitem, meaning "friendliness to guests." It is hard to be friendly to anyone when one feels half dead, drugged, or when one is seething with upset. It is hard to be genuinely interested in the welfare of another, a basic prerequisite to good service, when one is struggling internally.

The argument that people need these drugs because they have such issues as depression, is putting the cart before the horse: whatever issues a person had before taking a psychiatric drug, they were often quite simply explained and susceptible to a) proper medical treatment (for hernias, allergies, etc.), b) proper diet and exercise, or c) counseling to get through some of life's inevitable roadblocks emotionally, hormonally, etc. This is the regimen the National Health Service in Great Britain has ordered its doctors to follow, instead of prescribing psychiatric drugs. By not isolating and treating these real-world issues, one condemns these individuals to continued problems stemming from those issues. By also inventing a "mental illness" to account for the symptoms, and prescribing some very powerful, mind-altering drug, one merely deadens the symptoms as well as the individual. Then one does have a mental issue!

A groundswell of protest by those in the medical and even mental health professions, governing bodies, and those mistreated by such sanctioned drug addiction, gives weight to my observations and contentions. Any Internet search will uncover it, but most recently, Ms. Jeanne Lenzer added the prestigious British Medical Journal to the discussion when she stated in her June 19, 2005 article entitled Bush plans to screen US for mental illness, "President Bush established the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in April 2002 to conduct a 'comprehensive study of the United States mental health service delivery system.' The commission issued its recommendations in July 2003... and found that 'despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed' and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for 'consumers of all ages.'.... The commission also recommended 'Linkage [of screening] with treatment and supports' including 'state-of-the-art treatments' using 'specific medications for specific conditions.'"

As I pointed out in my own article in the BMJ in response to Ms. Lenzer's, "I find I have no argument with senior members of the psychiatric community when they admit to having no clue about the cause of or cure for mental illness.

"'We do not know the causes (of psychiatric disorders). We don't have methods of 'curing' these illnesses yet.' Director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, Rex Cowdry, 1995.

"'The time when psychiatrists considered that they could cure the mentally ill is gone. In the future, the mentally ill will have to learn to live with their illness.' Norman Sartorius, president of the World Psychiatric Association, 1994.

"This is not the forum for detailing exactly why psychiatric drugging is junk science, but suffice to say, if it were not, it would obtain some positive results. Yet study after study not paid for by pharmaceutical companies pushing their own drugs, shows harmful effects and less positive outcomes than sugar pills."

"While we have heard plenty recently about skewed statistics during drug trials carried on by pharmaceuticals eager to rush their latest drug to market, it is telling that no statistics are kept anywhere in the world on improvements brought about in real life by psychiatric drugs. That is, except for King County, Washington (including Seattle), which is the only government organization wanting to know how well its citizen's money is being spent and interests served. About $30 million was spent in 2000 on psychiatric drugs in King County, with the following outcomes: Of 7,831 patients, 6,949 (88.7%) showed no improvement, 597 (8%) showed some improvement, 295 (4%) regressed, and 4 (.05%) recovered. Who would take their car to a mechanic who successfully fixed one in every 2,000 vehicles that passed through his doors?"

"In a nutshell, the main problems with the psychiatric theory of a chemical imbalance in the brain as the cause of behavioral disorders are that no tests exist to determine the chemical status of a person's brain while he is living (so how could one recognize an imbalance?); and no delivery system exists to replenish any supposed 'prozac deficiency,' for instance, to a specific part of the brain."

"But this doesn't discourage psychiatrists from misdiagnosing tens of millions of people as having these 'diseases.' Or pharmaceutical companies from making psychiatric drugs to treat these made-up diseases."

If the British medical community has tumbled to what is going on with over-prescription of pharmaceutical drugs, why have we heard so little about the government's plans to medicate the other half of US citizens not already on psychiatric drugs? Perhaps because, as the American Psychiatric Association boasts on its web site, "The BMJ story [by Ms. Lenzer quoted above] has gained some traction in derivative reports on the Internet, though mainstream media have not touched the story, in part thanks to APA's work, for which the administration is appreciative." Interestingly enough, Ms. Lenzer's article was the most downloaded article in the history of the BMJ. It manifestly struck a nerve with a public wary of doctors and politicians whose pockets are lined with drug company money. But for the majority of people in the United States who do not visit the BMJ's august web site, the APA made sure the story did not reach them.

So to return to the hospitality profession in particular, we hear that good personnel are hard to find. Certainly, there are many very competent individuals in the industry who are wonderfully hospitable, but they are the ones who keep the guests wowed, and the ship afloat and off the rocks. Their job is made much harder by the mistakes made by people who are not quite tracking with the rest of us and by the upsets they cause by their attitude, lack of awareness and caring. If you find yourself dealing with employees like this, then realize there is a hitherto hidden influence at work: such employees may well be legal drug addicts. We don't allow street drugs in the work place, so why do we allow psychotropic drugs that are classified as Schedule II drugs (same as cocaine) by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency?

So how does one handle this situation and move on? Are such employees dead losses? Absolutely not: If they recognize they are in trouble and want help, then all they have to do is see a competent medical doctor or alternative health practitioner who is not sold on the marketing campaigns by the pharmaceutical companies, for a full and searching physical exam. They may need to fix some physical condition or allergy, change their diet (from junk food high in sugars, synthetic sugars such as the killer aspartame, and empty calories, to nutritious and proteinaceous foods), possibly start some exercise regimen, or have some counseling from a competent and caring individual. They can also do a detoxification program that will remove the residues of the psychiatric drugs so they do not keep releasing into the their blood stream long after the individual ceases taking them.

In the meantime, what does HR do in a hotel environment? First off, research this whole subject for yourself. Otherwise you'll just think the author full of something unmentionable and will continue to miss this important dynamic in your organization. You may also want to consider the impact such psychiatric programs and agendas are having on health care coverage as the cost of health care spirals out of control. It was not so long ago (2001, pushed heavily by pharmaceuticals and psychiatrists) that the Mental Health Parity Act tried to compel businesses to cover mental health insurance (i.e. psychiatric drugs) to the same dollar amount as physical illnesses. Now we have TeenScreen, designed to screen and put the 50 million children in this country on psychiatric drugs as the first step of the President's Orwellian-named New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in drugging all Americans. Once you realize there is a clear and present danger, I am sure you have enough understanding of HR issues to work out how to proceed in your organization.

Sorry if this is all new and bad news to you, and even more so if anyone finds it upsetting: but the truth is that nothing will work short of the truth in the long run.

Professor Steven Ferry was born and raised in England, where he worked in education, hospitality, and private service before moving to the USA to continue in private service. He took a break from service to establish a photographic and writing communications company that produced a wide range of educational, PR, marketing and editorial products for many major US publishers and corporations, while also writing books for the butler profession and ultimately, being drawn back into the service industry to train and consult. At the request of peers, he founded the International Institute of Modern Butlers (www.modernbutlers.com) in 2004 to set and raise standards for the profession. Mr. Ferry can be contacted at 813-354-2734 or stevenferry@modernbutlers.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

SEPTEMBER: Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead

Jay Spurr

Meeting planners have more than enough to think about when it comes to searching for the perfect venue – and eco-consciousness is increasingly making its way top of mind for many. It is currently estimated that the average hotel guest generates 2.2 pounds of waste each night of their stay. And, with the meetings and event industry recently being deemed as the second most wasteful sector in the United States by the EPA, we at JW Marriott Austin knew we had to go above and beyond to deliver more efficient meetings and events with the lowest possible carbon footprint. READ MORE

Del Robinette

Engagement and commitment are at the core of our professional lives in a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week operation. No matter the size or complexity of the box, engagement and our commitments should be a core fundamental that not only surfaces in our every interaction, but guides and directs our proactive decision making and our strategies and executions. Hospitality 101 teaches us as hospitality professionals, to engage with our guests, to make eye contact at 10 feet, to speak within 5, to escort when possible and to use our guests name in conversation. READ MORE

Katie  Davis

I had a bit of an “out of body” experience recently. I was attending a corporate meeting, which was held in a hotel meeting room. As usual, I was multi-tasking for most of the meeting. Doing my best to remain engaged with the meeting content, while simultaneously managing an ever-growing email inbox and “To Do” list. During a break, I was pacing outside the meeting room, on the phone with my office, when I noticed some snacks and beverages set-up adjacent to the meeting room entrance. READ MORE

Deirdre Martin Yack

Meeting planning in today’s world is more complex than ever. Whether you’re a planner or a supplier, our jobs are now 24/7. We are dealing with shorter lead times than ever, tighter budgets (on both sides), and expectations based on the perfection projected by social media and reality TV. Our job is no longer simply about dates, space, rate – we now need to compete at a world-class level on a daily basis. As a supplier, it takes extreme creativity at the venue level. Starting with the initial design, event space must be as flexible, innovative and as Instagram-worthy as possible. READ MORE

Coming Up In The October Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Revenue Management: Technology and Big Data
Like most businesses, hotels are relying on technology and data to drive almost every area of their operations, but perhaps this is especially true for hotel Revenue Managers. There has been an explosion of technology tools which generate a mountain of data – all in an effort to generate profitable pricing strategies. It falls to Revenue Managers to determine which tools best support their operations and then to integrate them efficiently into their existing systems. Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Online Reputation Management software are basic tools; others include channel managers, benchmark reports, rate shopping tools and review systems, to name a few. The benefits of technology tools which automate large segments of a Revenue Manager’s business are enormous. Freed from the time-consuming process of manual data entry, and having more accurate data available, allows Revenue Managers to focus on analysis, strategies and longer-term decision-making. Still, for most hotels, the amount of data that these tools generate can be overwhelming and so another challenge is to figure out how to effectively utilize it. Not surprisingly, there are some new tech tools that can help to do exactly that. There are cloud-based analytics tools that provide a comprehensive overview of hotel data on powerful, intuitive dashboards. The goal is to generate a clear picture, at any moment in time, of where your hotel is at in terms of the essentials – from benchmarking to pricing to performance – bringing all the disparate streams of data into one collated dashboard. Another goal is to eliminate any data discrepancies between finance systems, PMS, CRM and forecasting systems. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address all these important developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.