Substance Abuse is the unhealthy usage of alcohol, drugs, or other substances that impairs a person’s functionality or well-being. Substance abuse in the workplace might go undetected for a long time. People who have poor coping methods and frequently use drugs or alcohol to deal with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety may become so dependent on substances that they do not appear intoxicated on the job. Even persons who do not appear to be affected may perform poorly at work.

Companies that promote workplace well-being may naturally wish to address substance abuse issues. After all, substance abuse can impair both individual and organizational well-being goals. Aligning workplace well-being with employee substance abuse problems may be even more crucial given our country’s current opioid crisis. According to astudy published in National Library Of Medicine in June 2022, opioid use disorders impact about 16 million individuals globally, including over 2.1 million in the United States, and opioids are responsible for over 120,000 fatalities worldwide each year.

Employees may find it hard to maintain a work-life balance in the workplace. One of the most common reasons employees use drugs is the thinking that it will help them handle work-related stress. Employees can become overburdened by the pressure to achieve deadlines and the responsibilities that come with them. As a result, they believe that consuming a substance will help them relax. Employees may also use such substances to improve their performance.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 70% of all drug users in the United States are employed and actively involved in the workforce. Marijuana and cocaine are the most commonly abused illicit narcotics on work sites. It reveals a sad reality: employees are searching for harsher ways to cope with professional stress and pressure.

Many Employees Use Drugs As A Kind Of Recreation:

They believe that being high makes their lives more enjoyable. It is rapidly becoming a life decision under peer pressure and a fashion statement. It is the wrong way to live because one does not necessitate drugs to enjoy life’s pleasures. A person’s happiness should come from the smallest of experiences, such as caring for loved ones or walking outside and being with nature.

Every year, millions of employees in the United States suffer from poor mental health associated with unsafe working conditions. Also, because our world has become more or less a hustling culture, people in all occupations receive little assistance and, as a result, suffer burnout and mental health exhaustion. Therefore, many employees have difficulty maintaining their standard of living and turn to drugs to escape the confines of modern society.

The Effects Of Abuse Of Drugs And Alcohol And Addiction:

They have severe effects on society, including the workplace. Employee drug and alcohol abuse cost businesses billions of dollars each year due to absenteeism, poor productivity, injuries, legal issues, and higher healthcare and insurance costs. For these reasons, businesses have a vested interest in treating drug and alcohol issues in the workplace to protect both their employees’ health and well-being and the company’s interests and profits.

Employees’ judgment, perception, and emotional well-being activities are impacted by drug use. Such employees may be identified if their job requires them to make sensible decisions. The aftereffects of drug abuse, such as hangovers and withdrawals, have an impact on job performance. Such workers will be exhausted and unable to make sound decisions on the job.

Most Drugs Are Addictive. As a result, once employees take these illegal substances, they become addicted and desperate. They lose concentration on their work when their body and mind need these medications. It may raise concerns for both the individuals and the company.

Many of these employees might believe they are ‘high functioning’ addicts or junkies who can prevent their addictions from affecting their work performance, but this is frequently not the case. Addiction is a chronic condition that develops with time, especially if left untreated. Drug and alcohol abuse tends to influence and degrade a person’s capacity to function at work over time, eventually crossing over into their work career.

Companies Benefit From Healthy Employees:

Poor Health reduces productivity whereas well-being is associated with higher job performance. Given this, it should come as no surprise that workplaces with a pleasant and active workforce have less turnover and higher productivity. The combination of several elements affects workplace well-being: physical environment, work culture, work structure, and individual decisions and actions, including personal health behaviors. For example, how work is managed may impact an employee’s stress, which in turn may impact their well-being and productivity.

Employers have adopted several strategies to prevent substance abuse in the workplace, including drug testing, training managers to identify substance abuse symptoms, substance abuse policies, rehabilitation coverage, and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Employers should also consider incorporating substance abuse detection and treatment into a workplace well-being program.

These programs, however, are not successful in detecting if a person is suitable for employment. Other factors, such as tiredness and inability to follow procedures, have an impact on safety. So other approaches to preventing accidents and assisting employees with concerns that may impair their performance are preferred.

Health Promotion:

Employers can use a Health Promotion Approach to affect many aspects that improve employee well-being and tackle safety and performance challenges. Health promotion aims to give people more control over their health. Effective health promotion finds a balance between personal freedom and societal duty, as well as between people and their environment.

Employers and employees both contribute to a comprehensive strategy for workplace health promotion. Employers must provide a supportive workplace, and employees must take responsibility for their well-being. Multiple strategies that target interconnected aspects of occupational health and safety, voluntary health practices, and workplace culture are most beneficial.

Talk To Your Supervisor if you’re worried that work-related stress is leading to drug and alcohol abuse. Inform your supervisor that you are feeling stressed and worried. While you may not want to discuss your substance abuse, you can discuss how stress affects your mental well-being.

An honest conversation with your supervisor may result in good improvements that reduce stress for you and the rest of your group. Implement actions that reduce the immediate risks associated with harmful substance abuse before addressing the underlying causes.


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