Addressing Drug Abuse in the Workplace

The U.S. is currently facing a national drug crisis. Opioid addiction is sweeping across the country with alarming strength. Though it can sometimes be hard to spot, one sure sign that someone is battling an addiction is they are beginning to bring the signs of drug abuse into the workplace. In 2016, more than 1 in 25 employees tested positive for illicit drugs in workplace drug screenings. This trend not only applies to drug abuse, but employers are also reporting signs of alcohol abuse. In fact, Psychology Today reports that “20 million workers across the U.S. report alcohol-related impairment at work at least once in the past year.”

Furthermore, more than 75 percent of individuals who admit to having an addiction to drugs or alcohol also report that they continue to maintain their employment. As employers, this is an alarming statistic. In today’s article, we at Affordable Evaluations would like to offer some suggestions for employers to take action against drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace. It is our mission to help employers improve the safety and individual health of all of those in the workplace.

What Can Employers Do to Address Drug Abuse?

Employers have a duty to do all they can to create a safe and healthy work environment. Doing so will both improve the quality of life of your employees and it will help improve your business’ productivity. There are many ways for employers to do this. The first of which is beginning to educate yourself and your employees on the signs and symptoms of abuse, setting clean and explicit workplace policies, and creating a general awareness and expectations related to drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

EAPs have proven to be highly effective ways of growing awareness and reducing the effects of addiction in the workplace. These programs are specifically beneficial for encouraging and supporting employees to seek treatment and recovery through confidential assessments and resources.

Awareness and Prevention Programs

Not all impactful workplace changes require large amounts of money and resources. For example, many team-awareness and peer-based programs can be extremely cost-effective ways of maximizing awareness, workplace safety, and productivity. These programs utilize the bonds and relationships of small groups to help employees feel supported and comfortable initiating and maintaining recovery.

Additionally, research shows that workplaces that facilitate treatment opportunities have seen a number of positive effects. These positive yields include improving overall employee functioning and decreasing absenteeism and workplace conflict.

Drug Screenings

As we mentioned, 75 percent of employees who report drug and alcohol abuse also report maintaining a daily job. This naturally poses a problem—a problem that can be drastically mitigated through alcohol and drug tests. Whether it be routine random drug testing or pre-employment screening, drug tests can increase the health and safety of not just those being tested but also their colleagues as well. Over 50 percent of organizations already require their employees to complete pre-employment drug screenings. Additionally, high-risk industries like mining, construction, public safety, and transportation require their employees to complete regular and random drug tests.

Benefits of Drug Testing

When you partner with a reliable and professional drug testing service, you can see a number of benefits. Below are just a few of the possible advantages:

  • Improve workplace safety
  • Deter employees from drug and alcohol abuse
  • Optimize productivity
  • Reduce the risk of workman’s compensation claims
  • Decrease the chances of absenteeism and tardiness

With opioid and pain-killer addiction now being more prevalent than at any other point in history, it is essential for employers and organizations to do all that they can to prepare for this alarming trend. Implementing supportive policies that combine screening with detection programs, resources, assistance, and the support needed to abstain from drug and alcohol abuse can not only help your organization, but it can also help improve public safety.

If you are unsure about how testing would work in your organization or what kind of drug screening would be the most suitable, contact Affordable Evaluations today. For additional information, be sure to check out some of our recent blogs, like The Advantages of Random Drug Testing and Things You Should Know About Drug Testing.

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