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Alcohol- and drug prevention among seasonal employees at a Swedish ski resort

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Author list: Carlerby, Heidi;Vinberg, Stig;Wall, Erika;Warne, Maria
Publication year: 2018

Abstract

Seasonal employees at ski resorts represent a high-risk population for the use of alcohol and drugs, as well as other negative lifestyle behaviours. These employees work and live in a context where the customers are on holiday and hence alcohol is used frequently. To our knowledge there is a gap in the literature regarding alcohol and drug consumption among seasonal employees. Particularly studies in the context of ski resorts are lacking. The overall purpose of our study was to evaluate a policy-based intervention at a ski resort area in Sweden. The intervention was led by a project leader together with managers from different tourism industries, the health sector, social service and police. Components in the intervention were e.g. policy development and implementation, education of managers and creation of a manager network. In total, 48 enterprises participated. A questionnaire, concerning alcohol and drug use and social aspects, was distributed before and after the intervention. The firs questionnaire was answered by 611 (47%) respondents and 423 (34%) respondents the follow-up questionnaire after two years. In addition, five persons in the project group was interviewed after the intervention. Based on survey data, comparisons before and after the intervention showed several positive results. The results show a significant reduction of hazardous drinking and an increased awareness of the companies’ alcohol- and drug policies among the employees. No significant effects on drug consumption were found. The project group reported better knowledge about alcohol and drugs. However, most important was the increased collaboration between managers in tourism industries. The intervention also resulted in new norm breaking ideas such as a sober end of the season instead of the traditional “drinking the bar dry” and managers taking employees out on hiking instead of going out for a beer.

The conclusion is that seasonal tourism industries need to work with hazardous alcohol- and drug consumption from a “whole village perspective”. Successful health promotion work among seasonal employees, needs collaboration between private and public sector and should be related to cultural norms as well as working- and living conditions in the particular context, in this case the tourist resort.


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