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Dealing with Drug Use in the Workplace

Speaking to the Employer or Business Owner

The drug opioid epidemic in the U.S. is not something to take lightly. After having been declared a State of Emergency back in August, it has made many small company owners take the time to consider what their current policies are for drug use and abuse in the workplace. The odds of drug abuse taking place within a company is large, businesses across America have had to crack down on their policies or procedures when it comes to drug abuse and alcohol addiction. Based on the Department of Health and Human Services’ 2011 nationwide investigation, 18.9 people nationwide recorded drug or alcohol abuse or dependency, and out of those numbers 52% were employed.

“A lot of employers overlook the signs,” says Cali Estes, an expert drug and alcohol counselor who works with companies and individuals dealing with substance exploitation in the office.

There are a variety of physical signs of alcohol or drug addiction or dependency.

Physical signs of drug or alcohol abuse are easiest to see. Common signs are the smell of alcohol on an individual’s breath or bloodshot eyes. Other signs that are less obvious of drug and alcohol addiction are many unexcused absences, late arrival or leaving early from the job. Some drugs that are known as uppers may make the individual more energetic. Someone who is up and on foot around all the time and who looks really full of activity, but isn’t getting anything done might be expressing signs of addiction, Estes states.

The price of substance abuse in the workplace is upsetting to both small and large companies. For example, if an employee drinks a lot, uses illicit drugs or abuses recommendation medications is more likely to be injured or to make faults on the job. He or she is also more likely to overlook work and have disagreements with superiors and coworkers. While it is vital that each owner has a drug-free place of work, an employer must also have an empathetic approach toward those who abuse drugs or alcohol.

Addiction is similar to most other diseases in the sense that it can happen to anyone at any socioeconomic level, even workers who seem to be the hardest working and most devoted. It is important for employers to understand the epidemic with drugs in our country and rather than having a penalizing approach, they should enforce options for their workers to receive treatment. Employers should have a form of compassion for these individuals struggling with addiction rather than being brash with their punishments.

Any business industry can fall victim to substance abuse within their company, but smaller businesses will feel the destruction especially. Small businesses are known to not have the resources to enforce drug-free workplace regulations. Employees who struggling with drug and alcohol abuse or dependence are more likely to search for positions within smaller companies where drug-testing policies are not in place.

There are various ways that employers can lose money related to employee drug addiction. Not only missing work and the cost that comes with that, but company’s reputation can be tarnished if others are associating the business with a place that allows drug and alcohol abuse to go on unpunished or unnoticed. Competitors will take advantage of anything they can and degrade a company’s profile and spread ill-news that can be profoundly damaging.

There is no suprise that drug users are more likely to steal, lie, or make mistakes on the job. Having employees who have these characteristics is a risk. A great way to save your company, and your employees would be providing an option for a rehabilitation course. This will eventually save your company money. It may also save an employee’s life.

Aid for Employees

The formation of a drug-free workplace isn’t just about casual drug testing or having penalties for employees who use drugs. Employers should recognize that a substance misuse disorder is a physical state. This is a situation that can be cured with proper treatment, just like any other health concern. They should arrange the surrounding in such a manner that employees feel safe to express about their issue of drug addict. They should give them confidence of being treated instead of penalized.

Employers can assist their workers get access to inexpensive recovery services in several ways:

  • Make sure the company insurance plan includes coverage for substance abuse treatment or counseling
  • Give employees who abuse drugs the choice to seek treatment in private without fear of repercussions
  • Move toward employees who may be abusing drugs in a constructive, non-confrontational way
  • Cheer employees who are under pressure at work or home to discover healthy ways to handle emotional tension
  • Have counseling services available

How to spot Employees Who require Help

It’s not always as effortless to recognize employees who have a substance use disorder.

Some make it obvious, taking long lunches and coming back under the influence after a “liquid lunch” or the heroin addict who is constantly nodding off at his desk, but there are many workers who are high-performers even while under the influence. Even if an employee may never utilize drugs or alcohol at work, there may be other signs. Employers should pay attention to those who call in sick regularly or display disturbed, violent or unfocused behavior on the job.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Changes in behavior or character
  • Poor cleanliness of self and work area.
  • More time is required to do common tasks
  • Increase in poor decisions
  • Failure to meet targets or show up for arrangements
  • unexpected displays of absentmindedness or puzzlement

As previously stated, there are no certain individuals that make fall victim to the disease of alcohol and drug abuse or addiction. By addressing these concerns to each individual upon hire, this will greatly reduce the risk of chronic instances within the company as a whole. If you or someone you know is struggling with their employees or workers when it comes to substance abuse or addiction, call us now: (800) 518-5205.


Howard’s Rehab Story Part 3

My third time going to rehab was in 1997. I was drinking heavily and taking opiates including vicodin and demerol. I acute pancreatitis and was in the ICU for 3 weeks then in the hospital another 4 weeks recovering. I went to Renolds recovery for my third stint in a drug treatment program. The group therapy was very confrontational compared to the last couple of rehabs I attended. The family therapy was also very intense and designed to put a stop to enabling the heroin addict. I did not need to detox since I came straight from the hospital. My therapist name was Dawn and she was awesome and very hot.  I met some famous celebrities and politicians in rehab number three by the ocean. I think a few of them are dead from the heroin addiction. I moved to the halfway house, and started working in my commercial cleaning business again. Delray beach had become over populated with drug programs and sober living homes by the late 90’s. The town became known as the rehab capital of the world. Downtown delray was filled with heroin addicts who came down here for treatment and relapsed.

I stayed clean and sober for 2 years after this time, then was introduced to oxycontin for my pancreatitis by my doctor. It was supposed to be a pain pill that cured the need for addictive pain medication because it lasted 12 hours. You can chew them and crush them which gave a quick high just like heroin. Soon I was going to multiple doctors to get more oxycontin. You could buy it in the office in house pharmacy after your appointment. Pain clinics were popping up all over south florida in the late 1990’s. This led to more drug rehab centers and detox clinics opening up. I ended up getting arrested in 2003 for credit card fraud and went to county jail for 5 months.