The study conducted in Q1 2012 included 99 family businesses from a broad range of manufacturing and business services companies across the country. It concluded that over half of the study’s participants were coping with, or anticipated addressing a family-related addiction problem within the company. This number far exceeds the norm reported for the general population.
“Substance abuse and addiction in family-owned businesses is being grossly overlooked, yet it will have a dramatic impact on our society as well as our economy,” said ReGENERATION Partners Chairman and CEO, James Olan Hutcheson. “Few counselors and business consultants have recognized, much less addressed the depth of addiction and substance abuse within family owned businesses. Our study highlights the fact that we can no longer ignore addiction and its impact on the economy.”
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, three in 10 Americans drink at levels that put them at risk for alcoholism, liver disease, and other health and emotional problems. Caron Treatment Centers and ReGENERATION Partners examined their engagements over the past 19 years, identifying those companies where alcoholism or addiction impacted the business.
Of those included in the study, a staggering 54 percent had or had previously worked through an addiction disorder within the business’s core ownership or management. Of the families with identified addiction problems, 83 percent were in the midst of working through an active drug or alcohol addiction while 17 percent of the families had dealt with an addiction in the past.
Dr. Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D. and Dr. Kevin Gilliland, Ph.D., president of Innovation 360, a leading team of counselors for alcohol & drug addiction, depression, anxiety and bipolar, family therapy and life development, recently co-authored an article with Hutcheson based on the study for an independent family business journal.
“Sadly, it’s not uncommon to see addiction issues impact families of wealth,” stated Hutcheson. “There are many reasons ranging from children being subjected to the expectations of high-achieving parents to lacking sufficient time with their parents. Too often they turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.”
While attention is focused on young family business member addiction, it is not the primary problem.
“The situation is particularly difficult on a family-run business if the addict is the founder, patriarch, matriarch, or leader,” added Dr. Gilliland. “When someone abuses alcohol or drugs, the power and influence of the family often protects or enables them by preventing intervention. In some cases, they deny the destructive effects on the individual, the family and the workplace.”
When the atmosphere in a family enterprise is clouded by denial, when comment on critical issues is stifled and behavior detrimental to the business is not discussed, the impact is profound. This is particularly alarming because family businesses dominate the economy; an estimated 75 plus percent of businesses in the United States are family-owned and/or family-managed.
“Only 33 percent of family businesses survive the founder’s generation and just 10 percent make it to the third generation,”
ABOUT REGENERATION PARTNERS
Dallas, based ReGENERATION Partners is one of the only firms in America that focuses exclusively on issues unique to family business. James Olan Hutcheson founded ReGENERATION Partners in 1995. He had previously led his family business, Olan Mills, Inc., the world’s largest portrait photography company, for 19 years. Additional information is available at www.regeneration-