With workplace addiction at an all-time high, many businesses are choosing more proactive steps to ensure that their workforce is healthy and productive.

Unfortunately, an accident is often the first clue that a problem exists. American businesses lose 81 billion dollars per year due to drug use – most of which is incurred before the problem is ever suspected.

Lost concentration, exhaustion, and over stressed immune systems chip away at an employee’s performance, and work quality suffers for months or even years before detection.

And employers are paying for it.

What Substances Are Being Abused?

While alcohol is still the country’s most abused substance, newer, more powerful drugs are easier to come by. This, along with the human body’s susceptibility to addiction has helped drug abuse balloon into one of the largest medical epidemics that our country faces. Opioids like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin are responsible for an increasing number of workplace accidents year after year.

AND, most employers don’t test for these drugs.

How Can I Combat Addiction Within My Company?

Many employers are going back to the basics; random drug testing is still the most effective way to keep a business place drug-free. For some, this raises the concern that they are violating worker’s privacy; this is actually one of the reasons Medical Review Officers or “MROs” exist. Laws are constantly changing and ensuring a safe workplace falls on the employer’s shoulders.

A recent article in Psychology Today addressed this shifting view with a few suggestions for employers.

  • Education: Training employees and supervisors on how to detect the early signs of habitual drug use can be a preemptive strike against workplace disasters
  • Reputable EAP programs: EAPs help employees that are struggling with many of the stressors that can lead to addiction, as well as offer access to information on addiction treatment.
  • Clear policies: Your substance abuse policy should describe prohibited behavior as well as consequences, and you should have written acknowledgment from each employee. Schedule a call to learn more about establishing a solid policy.
  • Access to treatment: Some businesses choose to employ a Second Chance Policy for employees that fail a drug test. These companies typically offer options to help employees find appropriate treatment.

Addiction education is a necessity in today’s workplace, and leaving yourself unprepared for substance abuse issues within your workforce can quickly damage your bottom line. If you need advice on the best and most effective ways to create and enforce your company’s drug-use policy please schedule a call to discuss your options.