‘Working from home is fuelling drink and drug addiction’: Rehab centre reveals 40 per cent spike in treatment inquiries while doctors warn socially isolated executives are secretly snorting cocaine in the attic and sipping alcohol in the garden shed
- Dr Niall Campbell, linked working from home to an increase in drug addiction
- The Priory Hospital in south-west London has seen 40 per cent more people
- 58 per cent increase in cocaine addiction and 88 per cent increase in ketamine
- UK drugs market is worth almost £10billion a year and had three million users
Working from home is fuelling addiction to drink and drugs, according to an expert who says stressed executives are sipping booze in the attic and snorting cocaine in the garden.
The use of cocaine is at ‘epidemic’ levels and abuse of ketamine – a favourite drug among festival-goers – is also said to be rising fast.
The Priory Hospital in south-west London, which is best known for treating celebrities for addiction, says it has seen 40 per cent more people inquire about private treatment in the last year. It has recorded a 58 per cent increase in inquiries about cocaine addiction and an 88 per cent increase in inquiries about ketamine.
An official review of drug misuse, which was published last year, said that the illicit drugs market in the UK was worth almost £10billion a year and had three million users. Experts believe the true figures are higher. It also said that most addicts died in their 40s, and data is expected to show that in 2020 drug abuse killed more people under 50 than Covid-19.
Dr Nial Campbell said: ‘‘Without the need to go into the office, or attend meetings in person, people prone to addiction find more opportunities’
Dr Niall Campbell, a consultant psychiatrist at the Priory, has linked working from home to an increase in addiction to drugs. He blamed overwork, lack of social contact, money worries and strained relationships.
‘Without the need to go into the office, or attend meetings in person, people prone to addiction find more opportunities to continue them,’ he said. ‘And for younger adults, being cut off from an office and maybe still living with parents, there is an enormous emotional strain, and we are seeing more depression and anxiety in the 20-plus age group, which in many cases leads to unhealthy and addictive behaviours.’
He added: ‘People are using all sorts of subterfuge to drink or take drugs at home, so they go up to the top of the house, in the attic room, or to the garden, the shed or the garden office and are secretly drinking from a stash they have kept in the car boot.’
‘Cocaine is extremely addictive and toxic and the effects are highly unpredictable, especially on the heart,’ he added.
Pamela Roberts, a psychotherapist in Woking, Surrey, said: ‘I saw a City worker recently who said that when he was at work, there was a “clamp” on how much cocaine he could use because he was more visible. With lockdown and working from home, he could do cocaine, get up later, join a virtual meeting by the skin of his teeth, sit “at the back” of a Zoom call, whereas if he had been turning up for work, he would have been late, looking dishevelled, and people would have noticed.’
‘People are using all sorts of subterfuge to drink or take drugs at home, so they go up to the top of the house, in the attic room, or to the garden, the shed or the garden office and are secretly drinking from a stash they have kept in the car boot,’ he said
Last month, Boris Johnson called out ‘middle-class coke heads’ whose habit, he said, ‘is feeding a war on our streets driving misery and crime across our country and beyond’.
Meanwhile an evaluation of the characteristics of cocaine users entering specialised treatment over a ten-year period found 81 per cent were male and 19 per cent were female, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found. It also said the average age at first use was 22 years old, while the average age of those first receiving treatment was 31 years old.