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Employee Drug Abuse

Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Employees

It can be frustrating to know of an employee who needs drug and alcohol treatment. As an employer, you have a range of options available, but most employers think that simply firing the employee is this the most practical and viable option. Dealing with employee drug or alcohol abuse seems troublesome, and hiring a new employee altogether seems the best choice for the company. But that choice is wrong.

Increased Productivity

An addicted employee won’t be at their best at work if they are experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, trying to recover from the night before, or high on the job. Employees with addiction problems will find it extremely difficult to focus on their tasks at hand, short-changing their employer and the company. After treatment, the employee will be more alert, more responsive to their superiors, and in general, he/she will be a healthier employee – physically and emotionally.

Employee Drug or Alcohol Abuse: Reasons to Finance Employee Treatment

A More Positive Workplace

Employee drug abuse and alcohol addiction affects everyone in the workplace. If an employee suffering from drug or alcohol abuse is a supervisor, the employees underneath him or her will likely be annoyed by their erratic behavior and negative attitudes. After treatment, the employee will be able to perform better, managing others more efficiently, bringing positivity back to the workplace.

A More Loyal, Dependable Representative

Employees in the depths of addiction can inadvertently hurt their employer. When employees are actively using, they are not good ambassadors for the company. Interactions with clients and co-workers will suffer, and attendance may often be a problem. However, employees sent to get treatment will do and feel the opposite – when a company is willing to lend a helping hand in overcoming their disease, they will “pay” the employer back with increased productivity, and a boost in work performance and company loyalty.

Avoiding Steep Costs

The cost to find middle to high management is substantial, and a missing employee puts a burden on additional employees to perform extra duties until that position is filled. A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that financing these costs can be up to seven times more expensive than sending an employee to a drug and alcohol treatment center.

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Expenses include separation costs for exit interviews, administrative duties, separation/severance pay and unemployment compensation; vacancy costs paid to employees who work overtime to take over additional duties, or to find and hire a temporary employee; replacement costs for attracting applicants, entrance interviews, testing, medical exams and acquiring and disseminating information; and training costs, both formal or informal, for training literature, technology, and time spent learning additional tasks.

It’s the Right Thing to Do

Sending an employee with a serious health issue to drug and alcohol treatment is the right thing to do. Legally, companies are not allowed to fire employees due to serious health issues, such as cancer or heart health, but employers are much more willing to let employees go because of substance abuse or alcohol addiction—diseases which should be treated as physical and mental health issues that are as serious as any other long-term, life-threatening illness.