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:

JULY: Hotel Spa: Measuring the Results

Robert Vance

Wellness tourism not only drives revenue, it is a required service for any luxury property. Total revenue for the spa industry surpassed $16 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to exceed $20 billion by 2020. Further encouragement, a recent ISPA study showed that 56% of millennials have visited a spa within the last year; never have we seen a demographic so involved in wellness. Guests are savvier when it comes to healthy hotel concepts and hold higher programming expectations. Thus, as the hospitality industry commits to developing wellness platforms, the rewards of investing in guest health far outweigh the risks. READ MORE

Sylvain Pasdeloup

Many luxury, five-star beach resorts on the world-famous holiday island destination of Bali put their spa and wellness services and facilities as among their top features. Many also promote their spa and wellness features as ‘one-stop’ retreat highlights, with all-round spa-and-stay packages available, tailored to cover the essentials, ranging from health-conscious dining (oftentimes with calorie counts and other nutritional aspects taken in), various fitness and recreational activities to be had on the resort grounds, with treatments at the resort’s dedicated spa facility or onsite beauty clinics. The trends in spa and wellness have recently gone further with science-based aspects included. READ MORE

Michael G. Tompkins

In the last decade, we have seen an increased willingness of hospitality and spa companies to cross geographical and cultural divides and move into markets outside of their traditional regions. It is really a function of and a result of globalization, which is impacting all business sectors. One geographical jump that seems to be getting a lot of attention these days is the Asian hospitality market. Big investors in the East are diving head-first into the Western wellness boom by buying landmark spa properties in the United States, recruiting top executive talent to lead their spa divisions in Asia, and integrating their traditional spa modalities with modern wellness culture. READ MORE

Claire Way

How many of us would admit that we are addicted to our screens? The need to be in the know is a habit that is hard to break. Parents, recognizing this addiction in themselves, and the effects on their well-being are increasingly concerned about the effect screen addiction will have on their children. To counteract this, parents are investing time and money in helping their kids develop better habits; this is where spas can play a key role. Encouraging children to connect with wellness for prevention ensures they grow-up with the knowledge and passion to remain in the best health. READ MORE

Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key
The challenge for hotel food and beverage operations is to serve the personal tastes and needs of an increasingly diverse population and, at the same time, to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends. In order to accomplish this, restaurateurs and hoteliers have to flex their creative muscles and pull out all the stops to satisfy their various audiences. One way to achieve this is to utilize existing food spaces in multiple ways at different times of the day. Lunch can be casual and fast, while dinnertime can be more formal and slower paced. The same restaurant can offer counter service by day but provide table service by night, with a completely different menu and atmosphere. Changes in music, lighting, uniforms and tabletop design contribute to its transformation. This multi- purpose approach seeks to meet the dining needs of guests as they change throughout the day. Today’s restaurants also have to go to great lengths to fulfill all the diverse dietary preferences of their guests. The popularity of plant-based, paleo, vegan, and gluten and allergen-free diets means that traditional menus must evolve from protein-heavy, carb-loaded offerings to those featuring more vegetables and legumes. Chefs are doing creative things with vegetables, such as experimenting with global cuisines or incorporating new vegetable hybrids into their dishes. Another trend is an emphasis on bold and creative flavors. From chili oil to sriracha to spicy maple syrup, entrees, desserts and beverages are all being enhanced with spice and heat. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.