Employers Guide For Addressing Rising Substance Abuse

As an employer, it is your responsibility to pay attention to the people working in your business. You need them to be at their best and feeling as well as possible to carry out their duties in your business. Substance abuse in the workplace is – for most employers – a fireable offense. However, if you aren’t looking after your staff, firing them won’t help them. Addressing their issue with them, however, will. Did you know that up to 70% of illegal drug users are employed? Usually, those who are employed are highly functioning individuals and that could mean that some of the people who work alongside you right now are battling addiction in some form or another.

Addressing Rising Substance Abuse

Employers Guide For Addressing Rising Substance Abuse

Before you can address rising substance abuse levels, you need to know how it affects your business. As an employer, you’re going to be concerned with productivity and your bottom line, and understanding how to spot the issues in your business that could be related to substance abuse will help you to put the right steps in place to help your staff who are suffering. Some of the signs to look out for that your employees are dealing with substance abuse include:

  • You have staff missing more working days – even without sick leave permission. 
  • There is a failure in completing daily responsibilities.
  • There is clear carelessness and a lack of efficiency, causing dangerous situations in the workplace.
  • Employees who are coping with substance abuse aren’t concentrating properly on the task at hand. 
  • Other employees are overworking to fill the gaps – this leads to a dip in workplace morale.

Each of these signs that an employee is dealing with addiction isn’t always easy to spot, but they also go hand in hand with the following costs to your business:

  • You’re paying more in overtime for the staff members who are covering for those who are inefficient
  • You’re seeing higher absence levels
  • There are more insurance and workers comp claims than there ever has been before
  • Job performance is poor
  • Increased risks to health and safety for employees 
  • Hidden costs including equipment damage and a higher employee turnover may be factors

How to Address Rising Substance Abuse in your Workplace

Employers Guide For Addressing Rising Substance Abuse

You are running a business and you may not think that it’s up to you to keep an eye on your staff, but people are putting themselves into your business to do well, and it’s important that you want them to do well. Addiction isn’t always easy and you can’t just ask someone to stop – there is more to it than that. While you may want to wait and see or even fire the employee in question, the best thing that you can do is step up and offer help. An employee who is under a cloak of addiction isn’t turning up to your workplace with the idea that they should be there; they know they have to pay bills, but they’re earning to pay for the next fix, too. You have to address the issue in the workplace, and here are some of the things that you can do.

  1. Check the employee in question is dealing with addiction in the first instance. Use the list above to figure it out and once you have, talk with your HR and legal departments to know the stance of the company.
  2. Establish a policy at work. If you notice the issues occurring at work, raise awareness about substance misuse in the workplace and the danger of it. You can hold seminars with the help of an addiction treatment center who can come in and talk to your staff about substance misuse. Sometimes, this can draw out the employees in question and they will feel safe about coming forward. The policy you draw up will explain to your staff how your business views addiction and the way you can help. If you have drug testing policies, put that in the same substance abuse policy.
  3. Talk about how your business is willing to help. You don’t want to just fire someone for having an addiction. It’s complex and instead of doing that, you can be the person that steps in and helps. Establish employee assistance programs including funding for treatment and sponsorship for working safely. Firing an employee with addiction leads to a new spiral. Instead, lay out the plan of action when an employee begins treatment and how they can be welcomed back to their job with a monitored recovery.
  4. Take action. If you are confronting an employee about their substance addiction, then the best thing to do is keep it confidential and don’t make it an argument. Have a calm conversation with the help of a psychiatrist from the business present. Refer them to an addiction treatment center and be a part of their treatment.

Get Help

One of the best things that you can do is speak to experts at Louisville Addiction Treatment Center and learn about their addiction treatment programs and services to help you to get through to your employees.

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