Substance Abuse in the Workplace

With the growing incidents of opioid abuse in Northeast Ohio, it’s important to remember that you may not have a drug problem, but the person working beside you might. In this blog we will explore the statistics behind the rise in substance abuse and who really pays for employees under the influence. Being aware and knowing the signs are important to both the bottom line and the personal safety of employees.

But first, it is important to understand that someone else’s “personal problem” presents a problem for all they come in contact with on a day-to-day basis, especially at work. Statistics don’t lie. Knowing the percentage of the population that abuses substances is the first step in realizing how much of the problem substance abuse in the workplace can be for all.

Startling Statistics

Approximately 60% of all illegal drugs are bought and consumed in the United States. This means the chances your coworker could be “on something” are very likely. Below are statistics that drive home how this is everyone’s problem, for employees, management and the organization’s bottom line:

  • Someone who abuses drugs or alcohol is 5 times more likely to be injured on the job and 40 times more likely to involve a coworker in their accident
  • Out of an average of 4,800 employee deaths per year, 15-20% are drug or alcohol related
  • Approximately 20% of current employees test positive for drugs
  • According the FBI, employee theft is the fastest growing crime in America; 65% of theft is drug and/or alcohol driven
  • Employees under the influence perform at only 67% of their potential
  • Companies lose around $122 billion in lost productivity due to substance abuse
  • Employers spend around $15 million is spent on health insurance related claims for drug/alcohol abuse

Who Really Pays for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse hurts everyone. There is no such thing as “it’s my problem, mind your own business”. When there are employees using at work, it raises the following questions:

  • Who will cover the work for someone under the influence?
  • Who will cover the costs resulting from substance abuse related theft, injury, and lost productivity?
  • Who is ultimately responsible when something goes awry during work hours?

The answer to all of these questions is the organization. Who ultimately “pays the price”? The employees themselves with compromised safety and the ripple effect caused by hits to the organizational bottom line. The money has to come from somewhere and if substance abuse issues are chipping the profits away, ultimately employee paychecks become the logical place to repurpose the lost profits.

As a coworker or manager, you have the ability to stop the madness that is substance abuse in the workplace. There are sure-fire ways to determine if a coworker is abusing a controlled substance. Check back in a couple of weeks for Part 2 to learn more about tell tale signs of abuse for specific types of controlled substances.

Timothy Dimoff Knows the Effects of Substance Abuse

As a former narcotics law enforcement officer, Tim Dimoff applies his first hand experience with the drug trade to business operations best practices. Contact Tim to schedule the Tim’s Talk What to do About Substance Abuse in the Workplace to protect your employees and the organization as a whole from this insidious problem plaguing corporate America.  

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