Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Substance Abuse Will Eventually Impact Your Employee’s Performance

substance abuseAs the boss or owner in your office or place of work, you have the right to set expectations for that environment. You can’t, however, control what employees do in their off time. But what happens when someone’s off-time behaviors start to impact their work-time performance? With substance abuse, it is a scenario that can happen.

This might sound like a rare problem, but statistics show it happens more than you might think. Data collected between 2008-2012 shows that nearly 10 percent of workers are misusing substances. The facts indicate that 8.7 percent of 18-65 year olds employed full-time had abused alcohol during the month prior. Another 8.6 percent took illicit drugs during the previous month and 9.5 percent had developed a substance dependency over the past 12 months. It’s a problem that is probably affecting someone in your workplace right now.

Here are some things you can do as you become aware of substance abuse within your company:
Understand the risks in your industry – some careers are more susceptible to substance misuse or abuse. Low risk industries include hard sciences and accounting. High-risk industries include professional medicine, food services, lawyers and law enforcement. Find out how at-risk your industry may be.

Know the signs of abuse. When you notice red eyes, drastic weight change, nosebleeds, increased absence or tardiness, poor personal hygiene or increased moodiness – take note. These could be warning signs.

Talk with an attorney before confronting an employee, but when you do, be prepared to suggest help. It’s also a good idea to document any discussions or interactions you have with the employee on the subject. Here in St Joseph, Family Guidance Center is a resource available to provide help. We can safeguard confidentiality while helping a once-valuable employee return to a healthy and productive work life.