Imagine something so insidious and pervasive that it is affecting up to 40% of your workforce.

A thing so powerful it could be costing your bottom line hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Secondhand Drinking, the other side of alcohol misuse, is the negative impact of a person’s drinking behaviors on others.

Drinking behaviors are not intentional, rather they are what happen when binge drinking, heavy social drinking, alcohol abuse or alcoholism (alcohol misuse) changes the way a person’s brain works. Drinking behaviors include:

  • verbal, physical or emotional abuse
  • illogical, circular arguments
  • driving while impaired
  • domestic violence
  • committing a crime or sexual assault
  • and other dangerous drinking behaviors

Husbands, wives, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, boyfriends, girlfriends, aunts, uncles, in-laws and co-workers within your organization are some of the 90 million Americans directly affected by Secondhand Drinking (SHD). Through contact with people directly affected, millions more also experience SHD and its physical, emotional and quality of life consequences.

Meet Susan

police officer

Her husband repeatedly breaks his promise to stop or cut down his drinking. When she confronts him, he stares her down as he pops open another beer and asks, “What’s the big deal, can’t a guy have a couple of drinks after a hard day at work?”

Susan gets defensive and soon they are engaged in another crazy, convoluted argument.

As a detective with the Oaks Town Police Department, Susan spends the next day rehashing those arguments over and over in her mind, unable to fully concentrate.

Her co-workers know something of what’s going on so they cover for her. “She’s such a good person,” and “It’s what we do.”

Her partner is doing much of her paperwork in addition to his own, raising his stress on the job. Recently, he has started suffering debilitating migraines, forcing him to miss several days of work.

The High Cost of Secondhand Drinking (SHD)

Scenarios like Susan’s are more common than currently realized because assistance and treatments have been focused on the drinker, not the person exposed to their drinking behaviors.

By studying the research on alcohol misuse, the primary cause of SHD, we can extrapolate the high costs of SHD on your bottom line.  For example, one forestry agency with 9,000 employees faces:

Did You Know?
Alcohol misuse is the primary cause of SHD. The Alcohol Cost Calculator estimates the annual cost to USFS Region 5 of missed work days related to untreated alcohol problems is $888,710*.


*Based on The Alcohol Cost Calculator devised by the Center for Integrated Behavioral Healthy Policy, an initiative based at The George Washington University Medical Center.

Based on the sheer numbers of employee’s affected, we can estimate the cost of SHD far exceeds the reported costs of alcohol misuse, primarily as a result of the high levels of stress employees who deal with SHD, or its ripple effects, often experience. This in turn causes physical, emotional and quality of life consequences, such as:

  • headaches, migraines
  • stomach ailments
  • skin rashes
  • racing heartbeat
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia and other sleep issues
  • changes in eating habits (causing obesity or weight loss)
  • feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, walking on eggshells
  • anxiety, depression
  • difficulty concentrating
  • losing friends, dreading social events.

These physical, emotional and quality of life consequences form the basis of SHD’s staggering workplace costs related to absenteeism, safety risks, health care, distraction and poor performance. Click below to find out what you can do to help negate these impacts, which in turn can negate the staggering workplace costs related to employee off-hours alcohol misuse and the ripple effects of both alcohol misuse and secondhand drinking.

About Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen, founder of, is on a mission to help lower a company’s bottom line costs and improve an agency’s ability to focus on its mission to serve the greater good by countering SHD and alcohol misuse impacts in the workplace.

She is owner of Lisa Frederiksen Associates and author of the new Quick Series Publishing pocket guide, Secondhand Drinking, in addition to 11 other books. She is a national keynote speaker and consultant with decades of experience in executive management, HR, operations, and performance management, as well as substance misuse, mental health and addiction-related issues. To learn more about Lisa’s experience and expertise, please click here.

Lisa offers a selection of proactive, science-based training programs and consulting services to help companies and agencies provide employees with necessary tools to self-elect change in their personal lives, whether they’re experiencing SHD or causing it, thereby improving their company or agency’s employees’ health and workplace environment and their bottom line as a result.

lisa frederiksen trainer consultant speaker secondhand drinking prevention
Lisa Frederiksen’s engaging style and highly researched presentation held the attention of 1000 troops as she shared the new research and science on alcohol and the brain and how it is a person can lose control of their drinking. Her non-judgmental approach and enthusiasm for sharing this research put the audience at ease, which made them especially interested in what she had to say.
Gregory Pryor
Alcohol & Drug Control Officer for the Army Substance Abuse Program
Ft. Irwin National Training Center
Lisa Frederiksen customizes her secondhand drinking prevention training program to meet the specific needs of her clients.