Tips for Preventing Workplace Substance Abuse


Workplace substance abuse is a much more significant problem than many people realize. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to abuse substances or alcohol during work hours. Sometimes, the actual using or drinking even occurs in the place of work.

You might not think that anyone working would actually have time to use while on the clock, but it happens more than many people realize. Not only that, but new studies suggest that almost 77 percent of those who abuse substances are employed either full or part-time. That’s a lot of potential drug abuse happening right beneath your nose, and if you’re a small business, the chances of having employees abuse substances are even greater.

This might be because of the idea that small businesses won’t spend money on drug testing, or it could be due to the idea that smaller businesses just aren’t as drug policy savvy.

Why It’s Important to Worry About Workplace Substance Abuse

Even if all of your employees or co-workers are just sitting around computers all day long, when half your workforce is getting high, it can dramatically reduce productivity. Not to mention the risk of critical errors when it comes to processes of your business. These mistakes will need to be fixed, and that can take time and money.

Then, there is the risk of accidents to consider. Many people who wind up hurting themselves and filing for worker’s compensation have been abusing substances, and this can increase the cost to employers when providing employee benefits.

Can it be Prevented?

The good news is that while you can’t prevent all workplace substance abuse, you can make a tremendous dent in it and reduce how it affects your business. A few tips can help you ensure that your employees are clean and sober.

  • Start with drug tests. It might seem like an expense you don’t want to have to cover, but you want to make sure that the people you hire now are clear-eyed and ready to contribute to your business. A simple, inexpensive test can help you to rule out those with substances in their system. You’ll know when you have applicants fill out a short survey regarding prescription and over the counter medicine abuse. Surprisingly, the inexpensive urine tests are actually quite accurate, because you have the option to rule out applicants that have any unlisted drugs in their sample.
  • Stick with drug tests (and actually do them). Some employers talk a lot about random drug tests and then they never do them. This allows your employees to get complacent when it comes to substance use, and while they might not be using at work, they may be using on their downtime, and that can affect your company. So, spring the occasional drug test on your employees. Do it randomly, so nobody thinks you’re singling them out. Just make sure you stick with the policy.
  • Decide your personal policy. There is a zero-tolerance policy, which many companies use when it comes to dirty drug tests. Then, there are the employers who tend to be more lenient and talk to their employees about checking into addiction treatment. As a company, it’s your job to decide what your company policy will be when it comes to workplace substance abuse and make it clear to your employees.
  • Consider offering employee assistance for rehab. If you do find that one of your employees do have a problem with substance abuse, and you want to encourage them to overcome their problem, you might want to consider offering some kind of assistance program for them to attend rehab and continue working with you.
  • Educate, educate, educate. Often, people don’t really know that much about substance abuse. They don’t know the signs, they don’t know the risks, and they don’t know how it can affect all aspects of their lives. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that all of your employees understand the potential risks for substance abuse, as well as the dangers of this behavior. By offering education, you’re letting your employees know that as a company, you understand that addiction is a true mental health issue, but it cannot be tolerated within your company. So, efforts need to be made to prevent and stop it from happening, with the idea that your employees will also benefit from taking these steps.
  • Consider offering someone to talk to for employees in stressful positions. While human resources Doctors and Drug Abuseshould fill most of this role, some smaller companies don’t have a specific Human Resources department. Consider having a connection with a therapist or counselor for your employees to talk to when they are experiencing difficult times, either in their personal lives, or work life. Many employers are choosing to offset potential substance abuse by taking this route, and report that when counseling services are offered free of charge or for a small fee, they are beneficial to employees wellbeing

Substance Abuse in the Workplace Can’t Always be Avoided

Sometimes, people are going to abuse substances, and there’s nothing you can really do to stop it. In these cases, it’s a good idea to go on a case by case basis, depending on whether the employee is high at work, or if it’s something that he is doing on his own time.

Ultimately, the best way to stop workplace substance abuse is to prevent as much as you can, and have a plan when you do find that one of your employees needs addiction treatment. At Elite Rehab Placement, we can be your partner at helping you help your employees that need to go to rehab because we offer rehab finding services that go beyond offering a bunch of names to treatment facilities.

We can help you to build a strong list of treatment programs that will work for many different employee needs, so you can help your employees to get the treatment they need and sometimes, even keep working for you while they are going to rehab.

We’ll even help your employees navigate the scary stuff, like insurance coverage, so you know that they’re not hiding from rehab just because they are afraid they can’t afford it. This will also help you if you’re choosing to offer rehab assistance to your staff as one of their benefits.

Workplace substance abuse is real, and it can have a significant impact on your business’s overall productivity and profitability, but when you work to prevent as much as you can and treat what you can’t, you’ll not only have a healthy staff, but strong relationships with your employees that you can’t put a value on.