The Hidden Drug Menace

By Steven Ferry Chairman, International Institute of Modern Butlers | October 28, 2008

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.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.