One of the most significant challenges every employer needs to have on their radar is employee-related substance abuse in the workplace. In fact, several clinical workplace surveys show that substance abuse cases are one of the most serious issues faced by U.S. businesses, with a price tag of $276 billion a year. As an employer, it’s your job to do the right thing by prioritizing proactive behavioral health management. Here are some tips on how to manage substance abuse in the workplace.
Substance Abuse in The Workplace – Overview
The research on substance use in workers looked at annual averages of people aged 18 to 64 who worked full-time over a five-year period. It found:
- Heavy alcohol use in the past month: 8.7 percent
- Illicit drug use in the past month: 8.6 percent
- Alcohol or illicit drug dependence or abuse in the past year: 9.5 percent
Illicit drug use can refer to using illegal drugs or using legal prescription drugs in a non-medical way, such as taking medications subscribed to others or using more than prescribed.
Secret Signs That Employers Should Be Aware Of
Workers who are abusing substances often hide their use, but you should be aware of common signs, including:
- Increasing absences from work
- Falling asleep on the job
- Ongoing physical symptoms, such as skin discoloration, weight changes, sunken eyes, consistent pain, dental issues, intestinal problems, or flu-like symptoms
- Reduced personal hygiene
- Worsening performance on the job
- Irregular behavior
- Mood changes
- Signs of financial, legal, or family troubles
- Smell of substances like alcohol or marijuana
- Continuous trips to the car or bathroom during the day
How to Manage Substance Abuse
Identifying and addressing potential substance abuse within your employee population can be tough. Here are ways you can help:
- Provide comprehensive health insurance benefits, which include addiction and mental health treatment
- Offer an employee assistance program (EAP)
- Offering access to behavioral health apps for mental health first-aid
- Be understanding and open about the topic
- Provide education on substance abuse and treatment options
- Train management on how to spot substance abuse and what actions to take
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With a career focused on digital marketing, Chitra is a specialized SEO-Content marketer. After moving from biotechnology to business operations and marketing, Chitra started her digital marketing career as a freelance content developer and technical writer. With Axiom, as a content marketing & SEO specialist, she is passionate about creating informative marketing copies for optimum search engine performance.