Employee Drug Abuse
Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Employees
Drug and alcohol addiction impact every area of a person’s life. From family and relationships to work and productivity, addiction controls lives and keeps individuals from performing to their potential.
Substance abuse in the workplace is detrimental as it leads to not only loss of productivity for that one employee, but it brings down morale and changes the entire workplace environment. Employers do have options when it comes to dealing with an addicted employee. Terminating the worker is a choice many employers consider, but this is not necessarily the best option. Helping the individual get into addiction treatment is often the best choice for everyone involved, and it isn’t as difficult as many would think.
Employee Drug or Alcohol Abuse: Reasons to Finance Employee Treatment
Costs and Risks of Addicted Workers
Most people would agree that employees who come to work high or drunk are not beneficial to a company at all. In fact, they pose many risks, such as accident and injury, increased health care costs, tardiness or absences from work, stealing, and loss of productivity. Unfortunately, working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is becoming more and more common.
According to SAMHSA:
- In 2006, of the 17.9 million current illicit drug users age 18 and over, 74.9 percent were currently employed.
- Among 54.0 million adult binge drinkers and 16.3 heavy alcohol users, 79.4 percent were employed.
- In 2006, 8.8 percent of those employed full-time were current illicit drug users, and 8.9 percent reported heavy alcohol use.
According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
- 1 percent of employed adults used illicit drugs before reporting to work or during work hours at least once in the past year
- 8 percent of employed adults consumed alcohol before coming to work, and 7.1 percent drank alcohol during the workday.
- Workers reporting heavy alcohol use or illicit drug use, as well as workers reporting dependence on or abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs, are more likely to have worked for more than three employers in the past year.
- Workers reporting illicit drug use or dependence on or abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs were more likely to have missed more than two days of work due to illness or injury.
Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace lead to:
- Tardiness/absences from work
- Reduced job performance
- Loss of efficiency
- Decreased morale of other workers
- Poor decision making
- Conflict with co-workers
- Decreased concentration
- Possession or selling illegal substances at work
- Need for disciplinary procedures
Benefits of Employer-Funded Addiction Treatment
For the sake of the company and for the sake of the employee, substance abuse and alcoholism cannot be allowed in the workplace. Many employers don’t know what their options are for dealing with a co-worker who needs addiction treatment. Some would simply fire the employee and cut their losses. However, this is not always the best decision for the company, considering the time and effort it takes to hire and then train someone new. This is especially difficult if the employee is a long-time worker with many responsibilities.
Firing the individual is not the best decision for the employee either but allowing an employee who is addicted to drugs or alcohol continues to work is a liability to the employer. A better option would be to help the person get into addiction treatment. There are many benefits to employer-funded addiction treatment.
Increased productivity: The employee will be physically and psychologically healthier, more alert, and more energized to perform at work.
A healthier workplace: The drug abuse and alcoholism of one employee greatly affects others in the workplace. Unpredictable behavior, poor interpersonal skills, negative attitude, and low performance will cause other employees to either resent the person’s behavior or struggle with wanting to do less work themselves. After treatment, the employee will become more efficient and have a better attitude, increasing morale overall.
A more dedicated worker: Addicted employees are a liability to a company. Through tardiness, absences, theft, and loss of productivity, employees who bring drug or alcohol abuse to work are not at all dependable. After work-sponsored rehab, the employee is much more likely to feel a sense of gratitude to their employer for their help and will be a loyal, dependable worker.
Cost savings: Hiring a new employee, and finding an experienced, hard-working individual, is difficult. Training someone new is costly and doesn’t always work out. On the other hand, financing an established worker’s drug or alcohol treatment program will likely save the company in the end.
The employee is helped: Just as employers wouldn’t be able to fire an employee due to a serious health issue like cancer or diabetes, addiction is a disease and should be viewed as such. Drug and alcohol abuse treatment is available, and employers who are willing to get their employee into a program that will help them are not only helping their business but also looking out for the individual’s overall wellness.
The Ridge is a residential addiction treatment center that helps employers find help for their workers. Our confidential treatment program for professionals is customized to meet the individual’s needs, and we help employers navigate through the entire process. Contact us today to learn more about our program.