Substance use in the workplace isn’t new, nor is substance use outside the workplace which affects the workplace.
Concerns about substance use and its impact on the workplace have come into greater focus with the rise in both prescription and illicit opioid use, increased stress in and outside the workplace and in some places, cannabis legalization and decriminalization.
Placing employee well being in the forefront, results from this program will include a safer work environment, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and reduced liability potential due to accidents.
Studies show that the average amount of time an alcoholic or addict is active in their addiction before seeking or being forced to get help is 13 years. In addition, 77% of people struggling with addiction are in the workforce and 60% of people know someone who has been at work while drunk of high. Absenteeism is 41% higher for alcoholics, 75% higher for those with illicit drug use disorder, 46% higher for those with marijuana use disorder and 176% higher for those with pain medication use disorder. These numbers can be reduced significantly through awareness, education and easily accessible programs to help employees deal with these issues.
This program will help supervisors and co-workers identify physical signs of substance abuse or behavior changes which indicate the presence of substance abuse.
Physical signs are numerous if employees know what to look for, but employees who are abusing substances often become very skilled at hiding them. These physical signs are numerous. Some will be obvious such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, slow reflexes or being agitated. Other symptoms might include tiredness or appearing to be depressed.
There are many less obvious signs which are most often evidenced by behaviors and these take more awareness and observation over a longer period of time. Examples include frequent runny nose which can be an indication of “snorting” drugs or frequent trips to the bathroom or other private areas away from any other employees. There are numerous other indicators which are often ignored or attributed to other potential causes.
Impacts of Substance Abuse – People
No company exists without its people. A culture which promotes and supports the overall health and well being of a workforce is critical for employee satisfaction and optimal production. When individual employees are dealing with substance abuse, all their major life areas suffer, including work.
Unfortunately, coworkers are impacted as well. They may find themselves covering for the individual or performing added tasks which in turn, causes dissension and possibly fatigue leading to underperformance or incidents. Research indicates that affected coworkers are hopeful management will recognize the problem and take corrective action.
In organizations or situations where safety is critical, impairment, including fatigue, is a major concern. Substance abuse can lead to lapses in judgement, poor decisions, reduced motor skills and inability to focus. These situations may not only put the person performing the task at risk but also co-workers, customers and in some instances, members of the general public.
Impacts of Substance Abuse – Organizations
Low morale, incidents, insurance claims, absenteeism, low lack productivity and profitability, potential liabilities due to injuries to staff, and possibly the public, are just a few of the impacts of substance abuse in the workplace.
Many costs are hidden by general absenteeism or illnesses, being late for work, “unnoticed” lack of productivity, lack of focus, late or missed deadlines, or inability or reluctance to link substance use directly with causes of incidents.
This program addresses all these issues plus many more and provides valuable information to assist employees and organizations in identifying and developing a proactive approach for dealing with Substance Abuse in the workplace.