Employee Drug Abuse: How to Identify and Deal With It

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A Vice Comes in Many Disguises, Many Appearances

Dependency on anything at a chemical and/or emotional level will bring out the worst in a person — but also provides the employee an opportunity to take ownership and change everything

Every workplace brings together employees of all personality types, and workplace stress can cause employees to act unusually.

This does not necessarily mean a worker is struggling with an addiction, but certain red flags may suggest an employee is using drugs.

Drug Recognition reports some 22 million working Americans have used illegal narcotics within the past month, while another 13 million Americans have drinking problems.

If you’re a business owner or manager who suspects an employee is using drugs, take these steps to help your employee and create a productive, safe working environment.

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Document Instances of Suspected Use

Accusing an employee of using drugs rarely results in the desired effect.

An outright accusation can cause someone to turn away from you, in the event he or she feels too much stress in order to ask for help.

Instead, make an effort to carefully note each instance a person’s behavior, performance, responses or appearance seemed radically different than normal.

Once you have a record, you can use it to speak to specific dates and instances when you discuss the problem and possible solution.

This documentation needs to be facts only and not mere suspicions of behavior or individual drug types.

Test for Drug Use

Drug testing remains a controversial practice in business, but it is legal.

Still, consider instituting nonrandom employee testing in cases where a manager can show a reasonable suspicion of drug use.

Furthermore, if these employees have higher-risk jobs, you can institute testing since you can prove in court their performances depend on sobriety.

Getting Professional Help

Ultimately, you want to ensure your employees can overcome their drug problems and return to work in a healthy and positive fashion.

To do so, you will need the assistance of doctors, drug counselors, psychologists or therapists to help an individual overcome an addiction.

A counselor or doctor will be able to help a manager or business owner determine the best course for rehabilitation.

The Last Word

A few people can quit cold turkey, but the majority will need professional help.

While some treatment centers focus solely on a one-treatment-fits-all philosophy, a holistic approach that focuses on specialized techniques is effective in fostering healthy lifestyle changes beyond treatment.

Best Drug Rehabilitation founder and former addict Per Wickstrom believes treatment should be tailored to the individual, instead of an all-purpose solution forced on each patient.

Give the patient choice in the type of treatment he receives as a positive first step in empowering him for a road to recovery.

What Are Your Thoughts?

  Approaching this topic with any employee is always a sensitive matter as due to its very nature most are going to deny having this addiction in the first place. What has worked for you when approaching an employee on this matter?

  What policies did you have to change to make your own EAP program successful when it comes to alcohol and drug abuse?

  What research and/or services can The HRIS World do for you and your company when it comes to addictions? Feel free to leave a comment below or click below to use our contact page to reach us!

Please share your thoughts with us and our audience in the comments section below! Or you can reach us directly from our contact page.

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Garrett O'Brien

CEO, Chairman, Publisher, Editor at The HRIS World Research Group

Garrett is the publisher, editor, writer forThe HRIS World Research Group, which includes The HRIS World, The HRIS World Research, The HRIS World Jobs, The HRIS World News, and The HRIS World Videos

With more than 20 years in roles as a client executive sponsor (#thwCES), project manager as well as functional / technical lead, Garrett is sought for his expertise for project insights, thought leadership, and team management globally.

He has been involved in large-scale and complex implementations since 1991 and has recently moved his operations to be with his wife in Brazil.

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