Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace

About 68 percent of illegal drug users are employed, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. One out of every 10 people in the U.S. has an alcohol problem.  Workers who abuse drugs and alcohol are less productive, miss more days, are more likely to injure themselves or others, and file more workers compensation claims.
The hidden costs are high—stress to others who fill in for absent or tardy co-workers, damage to equipment, drains on supervisory times, and damage to the company’s public image

  • What you can do
    • Set an anti-drug policy with consequences for violations.  Include management training, employee education, and, if appropriate, drug testing.
    • If your company has an employee assistance program (EAP) make sure people know about it.  If no EAP exists to direct people to treatment services, help develop one.
    • Work with the security office or union, to set up an anonymous hotline for reporting drug trafficking on the job.

Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Can Include:

  • Frequent tardiness or absenteeism
  • Abrupt changes in mood or attitude
  • Frequent complaints of not feeling well
  • Poor relationships with co-workers
  • Uncharacteristic errors in judgment, poor concentration
  • Unusual flare-ups or temper
  • Deterioration of personal appearance and hygiene
  • Repeated or unusual accidents
  • Deteriorating job performance
  • Borrowing money from co-workers or frequently
  • requesting advances on paychecks
  • Using a company credit card for personal business

Treatment can be successful in helping people with serious addictions.  After treatment, recovering addicts are less likely to be involved in crime and more likely to stay employed.  

Source:   “How Drug Abuse Takes Profit Out of Business”, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,                  
               National Institute on Drug Abuse