Substance abuse is a disorder on the rise across the country. Substance abuse in the workplace is also an increasing problem. In addition to the negative impact that substance abuse can have on an individual, it also causes them to have problems at work including decreased productivity, an increase in sick days, and the potential for injury.
There are some ways employers can help those with a substance abuse problem, or potentially prevent one from occurring. There are some preventative measures you can take to help avoid workplace substance abuse.
1. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
An EAP provides confidential help to an employee requiring assistance to maintain or return to work. Typically, this program is run by counselors employed by the company. These types of programs give employees assistance when they are dealing with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as any mental or emotional problems. An EAP can also help with family and financial issues.
2. Drug Use Policies
One thing you can do from the start of employment is to institute drug use policies. These policies should be detailed and include descriptions of disciplinary action, employee’s rights, confidentiality, and how they can get assistance without fear if they do have a substance abuse problem. These policies should not be put into place simply for the purpose of disciplining employees, but also to prompt managers to assist those with substance abuse issues. Managers should have training in identifying and dealing with substance abuse.
3. Drug Screening / Drug Testing Programs
Another thing to consider is drug screening and testing for employees. Due to the increase in drug use at work, drug testing is necessary before hiring an individual. Once hired, you can incorporate regular drug testing while in your employment. This can help you quickly identify those who use drugs while reducing the chance of hiring someone that uses drugs. Drug screening saves you large amounts of money in health care for someone that may have other health problems as a result of drug abuse. There are many drug testing centers available to provide urine, saliva, and hair follicle testing.
4. Educational Programs
Education can come in many different forms within the workplace. Education for your employees should include clear communication about the hazards of drug abuse. Your educational program should be multi-faceted that includes material or pamphlets that explain the risk associated with alcohol and drug abuse. The materials should provide employees information on how to prevent substance abuse issues. These programs should provide information about healthy habits like managing stress, exercise, and healthy nutrition.
5. Help While in Recovery
It is impossible to avoid having an employee with substance abuse problems in your organization. Many people struggle with addiction and recovery daily. These individuals need support on their road to recovery. If your business has a zero-tolerance policy about drug abuse, then you cannot walk away from someone trying to succeed in recovery. Ensure your company has programs that support your employees while going through recovery. You should consider holding an individual’s job while they are in an inpatient rehab facility, or hiring someone that has been through recovery.
If someone has been out of work for a while, even if that person was in rehab, you could require a fitness-for-duty exam to ensure that an individual is able to meet the requirements of the job.
Creating a drug-free workplace should be a top priority for any human resources department. You want to ensure that you are hiring employees that know you have zero tolerance and drug screening in place. You want your existing employees to have a program in place that offers them a safe place when experiencing difficulties.
You want to keep your employees engaged and focused on work? Follow the steps noted above to begin to create a drug-free workplace.