Both alcohol addiction in the workplace and drug addiction in the workplace can be damaging and dangerous. This guide shows you how to identify signs of workplace substance abuse and how to engage with effective addiction treatment.
Addiction in The Workplace Statistics
NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) reports that 70% of individuals misusing illicit narcotics in the United States are able to maintain employment. Among these individuals, many report engaging in binge drinking, while others abuse substances such as marijuana and cocaine while on the job.
According to NSC (National Safety Council), over 15% of employees struggle with a substance use disorder, which is the clinical term for addiction. This may involve the misuse of prescription medications, with the services sector experiencing the highest prevalence, or it may encompass the use of any type of illegal drug.
NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) reports that individuals engaging in alcohol abuse and dealing with substance use dependence are approximately three times more likely to negatively impact the work environment and experience work-related absences due to injuries. This addiction in the workplace statistic does not account for those who actively become intoxicated while at work.
Signs of Drug Addiction in The Workplace
Identifying signs of drug addiction in the workplace can help promote a healthy and safe work environment. Recognizing these signs early on can enable timely intervention and support for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. Common signs of drug addiction in the workplace include:
Changes in behavior
- Erratic or unpredictable behavior that deviates from the individual’s usual demeanor.
- Frequent mood swings, ranging from irritability to euphoria.
Decline in job performance
- Decreased productivity and quality of work.
- Missed deadlines and increased errors or mistakes.
- Frequent and unexplained absences from work.
- Consistent tardiness and extended breaks.
- Noticeable changes in physical appearance, such as weight loss or gain.
- Bloodshot eyes, tremors, or poor personal hygiene.
- Avoidance of colleagues or changes in social interactions.
- Isolation from work-related activities and events.
- Requests for financial assistance or loans from colleagues.
- Evidence of financial instability or unusual financial transactions.
- Strained relationships with coworkers and supervisors.
- Difficulty collaborating or communicating effectively with team members.
Secrecy and defensiveness
- Attempts to hide or be secretive about personal life or activities.
- Defensive responses to inquiries about changes in behavior or performance.
- Engaging in unsafe work practices or neglecting safety protocols.
- Increased risk of accidents or injuries.
- Presence of legal troubles related to drug use, such as arrests or court appearances.
- Suspicion or reports of theft or dishonest behavior.
Neglect of responsibilities
- Neglecting responsibilities, including failure to complete assigned tasks.
- Lack of interest in career advancement or professional development.
Shifts in priorities
- Prioritizing drug-seeking behavior over work responsibilities.
- Observable decline in commitment to professional goals.
Recognizing these signs necessitates a vigilant and supportive workplace culture. Employers and colleagues should approach concerns with empathy, offering assistance and resources for those in need. Encouraging an open dialogue about substance use and mental health can contribute to a workplace environment that prioritizes the well-being of its members.
Addiction in The Workplace: An Employer’s Guide
Recognizing and addressing addiction in the workplace is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. Employers play a crucial role in supporting employees struggling with addiction. Here is a comprehensive guide for employers dealing with addiction in the workplace:
- Educate employees: Implement educational programs to increase awareness of substance use issues, their signs, and the impact on the workplace.
- Promote a culture of understanding and empathy to reduce stigma surrounding addiction.
- Establish clear policies: Develop clear and comprehensive workplace policies addressing substance use, including guidelines on treatment, rehabilitation, and confidentiality. Communicate these policies to all employees and ensure they understand the consequences of violating them.
- Create a supportive environment: Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their challenges, including substance use issues. Encourage open communication and assure confidentiality for those seeking help.
- Implement EAPs (employee assistance programs): Offer access to employee assistance programs that provide confidential counseling and support services for employees dealing with addiction.
- Educate employees about the existence and benefits of EAPs.
- Training for supervisors: Train supervisors to recognize signs of addiction, handle sensitive situations with empathy, and guide employees towards appropriate resources.
- Ensure that supervisors understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality.
- Promote work-life balance: Encourage a healthy work-life balance to reduce stressors that may contribute to substance use.
- Provide flexibility when possible and promote well-being initiatives.
- Offer treatment resources: Provide information about available treatment resources, rehabilitation programs, and local support groups. Collaborate with healthcare providers to facilitate access to professional help.
- Non-punitive approaches: Adopt non-punitive approaches that prioritize rehabilitation over punitive measures. Consider offering flexibility for employees seeking treatment and reintegration plans for those returning to work.
- Employee assistance hotlines: Establish employee assistance hotlines or dedicated points of contact for individuals seeking help or information. Ensure that employees are aware of these resources and feel comfortable utilizing them.
- Regular reviews of policies: Periodically review and update workplace policies to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with best practices. Solicit feedback from employees and adjust policies based on evolving needs.
- Legal compliance: Stay informed about legal requirements related to addiction and substance use in the workplace. Ensure compliance with relevant laws to protect both employees and the organization.
- Promote a healthy work environment: Create a workplace culture that values and prioritizes the health and well-being of employees. Promote activities and initiatives that contribute to a positive and supportive atmosphere.
By proactively addressing addiction in the workplace, employers can contribute to the well-being of their employees, enhance productivity, and create a positive organizational culture that prioritizes health and recovery.
Getting Help for Addiction in The Workplace
Addressing addiction in the workplace requires a compassionate and supportive approach to ensure the well-being of affected individuals and maintain a healthy work environment. Here are steps to facilitate getting help for addiction in the workplace:
Observation and awareness
- Colleagues and supervisors should remain observant and aware of behavioral changes and signs of addiction.
- Foster an environment that encourages open communication and destigmatizes seeking help for substance use issues.
- Implement educational programs that raise awareness about the signs of addiction and available resources.
- Provide information on the impact of substance use on mental health and work performance.
EAPs (employee assistance programs)
- Promote the use of Employee Assistance Programs that offer confidential counseling and support services.
- Ensure that employees are aware of the availability and confidentiality of EAP resources.
- Encourage open and non-judgmental conversations about substance use and mental health.
- Establish a culture that prioritizes seeking help and emphasizes that assistance is available without fear of reprisal.
Access to treatment services
- Provide information about available treatment services and rehabilitation programs.
- Collaborate with local treatment centers or organizations to facilitate access to professional help.
Supportive workplace policies
- Implement supportive workplace policies that address addiction as a health issue, emphasizing rehabilitation over punitive measures.
- Ensure that policies protect the confidentiality of individuals seeking help.
Peer support networks
- Establish peer support networks within the workplace to create a sense of community and understanding.
- Train designated individuals to offer peer support and guidance to those struggling with addiction.
- Consult with addiction specialists or mental health professionals to assess the situation and determine appropriate intervention strategies.
- Seek guidance on creating a workplace environment that promotes recovery and long-term well-being.
- Develop reintegration plans for individuals returning to work after completing treatment.
- Ensure a supportive and phased re-entry into the workplace to reduce stress and potential triggers.
- Conduct regular follow-ups to monitor progress, provide ongoing support, and address any emerging challenges.
- Maintain open lines of communication to encourage individuals to seek help as needed.
By fostering a workplace culture that prioritizes the health and well-being of its members, organizations can contribute to creating an environment where individuals feel supported in seeking help for addiction and can successfully navigate the path to recovery.
Get Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ohio Recovery Centers
If you or someone that you care about requires treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism in Cincinnati, OH, reach out to Ohio Recovery Centers today.
We treat all types of addictions and mental health conditions in an outpatient setting, allowing you to get the help you need without neglecting your everyday commitments. In addition to regular outpatient programs, we also offer PHPs (partial hospitalization programs) and IOPs (intensive outpatient programs).
All treatment programs combine holistic and science-backed therapies. You will also leave our treatment facility with relapse prevention techniques and a robust aftercare plan that may involve ongoing therapy. Call 877-679-2132 today and begin your addiction recovery tomorrow.