Addiction in the Workplace What Every Employer Needs to Know

first_img LinkedIn on July 18, 2017 Addiction in the Workplace: What Every Employer Needs to Know If you are a business owner or manager in Central Oregon, there’s a good chance that you currently have or have had an employee with a drug or alcohol problem, whether you know it or not. Drug and alcohol addiction is a problem no business can afford to ignore.While it might be easy to dismiss the possibility of addiction existing in your workplace, businesses in Central Oregon are no exception. Fortunately, organizations like BestCare Treatment Services exist to help individuals overcome their alcohol or drug addiction, and return to leading healthy, productive lives, both on and off the job.According to a 2015 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study, which combines data collected from 2008 through 2012, 8.7 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 used alcohol heavily in the prior month, 8.6 percent used illicit drugs in the past month, and 9.5 percent were dependent on or abused alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year.Two of Central Oregon’s largest industries, construction and food services, have especially high rates of heavy alcohol and drug use, while a third industry, craft brewing, has fostered a local culture in which alcohol is widely embraced, accepted, and even celebrated.From lost productivity and increased workplace accidents, to absenteeism and increased illness, drug and alcohol addiction can be particularly costly to businesses. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s most recent estimates, in 2007 illicit drugs were responsible for an estimated $193 billion in resources spent to address health and crime consequences, as well as the loss of potential productivity from disability, premature death, and withdrawal from the legitimate workforce.“When addiction enters the workplace it no longer puts just the addicted individual at risk, it expands by an order of magnitude to potentially include co-workers, customers, the business in general and the public at large,” said Rick Treleaven, executive director of BestCare. “No matter how you slice it, the numbers related to addiction’s impact on the workplace are staggering and the stakes are too high to be ignored.”These numbers magnify the need for employers to be informed about the warning signs of addiction, and how they can help their employees who suffer from addiction and their families get the help they need.In order to do so, it is first important to understand the more obvious and outward signs that an employee might be abusing drugs or alcohol. These include frequent absenteeism or tardiness, a decline in overall performance, mood swings or a change in attitude, problems with coworkers, poor decision-making, change in personal appearance, and more.Once you have identified an employee who may be demonstrating some of the telltale signs of addiction, the next step is to address the situation with him or her directly. If an individual is at risk of harming themselves or others, their health is in jeopardy, or they are engaging in criminal behavior such as workplace theft, the situation needs to be dealt with immediately and appropriately.“When the time comes to sit down one on one with the individual, it’s important that the message comes not from a place of accusation, but rather from a position of care and concern,” said Treleaven. “Unfortunately, it’s commonplace to be met with a litany of denials, dismissals, excuses or other rationalizations of their behavior, not with an admission of a problem. So be prepared to stand your ground.”When addressing issues with an employee you believe to be abusing drugs or alcohol, compassion is number one. If they admit to having a problem, you can assure them that you are willing to aid them in seeking help. It is important to remember that many addicts will not admit to having a problem. If this is the case, you will have to make decisions based on what is best for your business.If your employee is ready for help, here are some immediate steps you can take:Check with your insurance provider to see what types of programs are covered. Many employers also provide Employee Assistance Programs that can provide help with substance abuse.If needed, help your employee compile a list of treatment programs to get more information. This is also something that the insurance company or the Employee Assistance Program can be extremely helpful with.Motivate your employee by offering he or she your support.Keep encouraging your employee to seek help.Nobody is beyond help, but to overcome addiction a person must first take responsibility and then make the decision themselves to accept help. Many so called “hopeless” addicts finally break free from the cycle of addiction and return to leading a healthy and productive life. Often times what helps set an addict on the path to recovery is an employer, supervisor, or coworker who recognizes the signs, understands the need for help, and offers support and encouragement.As part of their involvement in the Central Oregon Drug Free Initiative, BestCare works closely with local businesses to create a drug-free workplace in a variety of ways, including drafting and implementing drug-free workplace policies, providing substance abuse awareness training for supervisors and employees, and helping employers identify and deal with issues related to substance abuse.To learn how your business can benefit from becoming a drug-free workplace, contact BestCare Treatment Services at 541-516-4099.Submitted by Rick Treleaven, executive director of BestCare Treatment Services Twitter Google+ Tumblr E-Headlinescenter_img Pinterest By Rick Treleaven 0 Share. Facebook Emaillast_img

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