Addiction – The Cost to Employers, and the Signs of Addiction
What are the results of this epidemic? How about: higher insurance costs, turnover rates, absenteeism and employee theft as well as lower worker productivity. But that’s not all – the work place is also made considerably more dangerous as injuries and fatalities increase:
- More than 10% of workplace deaths involve alcohol.
- Over 70% of those with substance abuse issues try to maintain at least some level of employment.
- Almost half of these individuals admit that their work productivity suffers as a result of their substance abuse.
Don’t forget your staff. They will begin to resent the suffering individual, which only makes things worse for the person suffering and for the staff and company in general.
In addition, there is considerable risk to the company, its brand and its reputation. The consequences can be significant, both legal and otherwise.
There are many steps a company can take to reduce substance abuse in the workplace, and to support employees with an addiction disorder.
There are so many misconceptions and misinformation out there about addiction. Businesses can help by offering online internal educational courses and group seminars to address this issue. Senior leadership can also help by making it clear what the company policy is when it comes to addiction – that it is okay to come forward, no one should fear any sort of retribution.
With addiction, we are dealing with a chronic brain disease, not a moral issue or character flaw – and it needs to be addressed in this way, starting now, by all employers across the country.
Company policy should be very clear and cover a number of areas. Some examples include: 1) Prohibiting the use of alcohol on the premises in all circumstances, even celebrations, 2) Establishing and enforcing robust substance abuse policies, including a process for treatment and recovery, and 3) Offering comprehensive treatment programs, including hiring substance abuse advocates.
It has been proven that employers who actively initiate treatment discussions with suffering employees have greater success.
How does person know if a coworker or themselves have become addicted to alcohol/drugs? This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some tell tale signs:
- Trouble controlling the amount consumed.
- Difficulty controlling the frequency of alcohol/drug use.
- Planning work and activities around alcohol/drug use.
- Thinking obsessively about using alcohol/drugs.
- Physical cravings for alcohol/drugs.
- An inability to focus without the use of alcohol/drugs.
- Poor hygiene as the result of using alcohol/drugs.
- Relationship difficulties as the result of using alcohol/drugs.
- Failure to attend work on time, missing work or failing to accomplish required work duties.
- Isolating to use alcohol/drugs alone.
- Shaking in the morning after a night of drinking and drug use.
If you answer most of these questions affirmatively, there is a distinct possibility that you may have the disease of addiction.
If you or a coworker have alcohol/drug addiction, what can you do about it? The good news is that addiction can be treated, and employers can play a significant part in the process.
People in recovery often have lives that are vastly superior to their lives prior to addiction. There are many reasons for this. They tend not think of themselves as much and to think more of the needs of others.