According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, workplace drug abuse costs employers an estimated $81 billion annually. Workers who regularly abuse drugs are more likely to get injured, to miss work or to produce poor craftsmanship and provide low quality work than those who are sober.
Studies estimate that more than 14 million members of the workforce in the United States alone are addicted to drugs or alcohol. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, an estimated 75% of those who are addicted or using drugs are still employed.
Workplace Drug Abuse Costs Employers in the Form Of:
- Productivity Loss
- Workplace Theft
- Reduced Employee Morale
Many of the costs are directly related to production while others are attributed to increased health care costs, legal fees and workmans' compensation claims. Overall, job performance is dramatically reduced when an employee is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Drug abusers tend to have negative attitudes in the work place that can impact other members of the job too. It is very common for an individual who is suffering from an addiction to also exhibit the following negative workplace behaviors:
- Problems financially which lead to depression or anxiety at work and can further lower employee morale.
- Avoiding colleagues at work which can reduce communication and make working as a team difficult.
- Placing blame on other employees which can cause fighting or arguments.
- Complaining about problems taking place at home which can cause resentment or discomfort between employees.
- Complaining about being sick or otherwise unable to perform work duties which can result in one employee taking the brunt of the work load.
According to the CDC, employee substance abuse programs may include:
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
- Education Programs
- Health Promotion Programs
- Nutrition Programs
Workplace policy can help to promote a corporate culture of positive habits and health for employees. Employers can do their part by instilling various policies to help improve workplace satisfaction and to reduce or prevent drug use by employees. This includes policies and programs such as:
- Drug-free workplace policies which include clear guidelines as well as clearly outlined consequences for misconduct.
- Health promotion programs which will educate employees on the risks of substance abuse as well as on healthy behaviors for improved well-being.
- Assessment and counseling as needed for those who may be involved in substance use or at risk of such.
- Drug testing to reduce the likelihood of drug use by an employee.
- Policies that reduce nicotine use or other forms of substance use.
- Supervisor training to include identification and recognition of substance use behavior.
- Provisions which provide for treatment, adjustments and appropriate handling of repeat substance users in the workplace.
- Clearly outlined disciplinary actions for those who break policy rules.
Failure to Report Drug Use Could Lead To:
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