Image Source: Photographing Travis
Boris Dzhingarov

Member Article

Dealing with a rise in Drug Abuse in the workplace

According to a report from just last year, there is increased concern that addiction to prescription medications is on a par with addiction to heroin and cocaine and has further begun to interfere with a growing number of workers on the job. Unfortunately, heroin use is on the rise again as well and so even though as of 2013 through 2015 heroin addiction was waning, there is new evidence that this illicit street drug is filtering back into the work place. This leaves company directors at a loss as to how to deal with what appears to be a growing epidemic.

What Can You Do If You Suspect Drug Abuse on the Job?

One of the things you can do as a company director or a team leader is request that employees take drug tests in accordance with regulations. This can be either if the job being performed would result in a health and safety issue or the employer can randomly test for drugs. However, it must be in the employee’s contract that random screenings will take place and in the event there is a problem, the boss must have probable cause that drugs will interfere with health and safety concerns. In other words, a random drug testing of the entire staff must not be discriminatory and if the employee is displaying impaired behavior, the boss could test on the grounds that the employee could be a hazard to self or others.

A Focus on Health and Safety

Whilst drug abuse can indeed interfere with an employee’s performance on the job and can result in serious injuries or other consequences that will affect literally everyone in the company’s employ, that is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak. The real concern that most directors have is for the safety and wellbeing of the entire staff. In the United States, there are a great number of programs that deal specifically with intervention. One such treatment center out of Manistee, Michigan has a long history of dealing with drug abuse on the job and helping local businesses deal with drugs on the job.

Lessons from Across the Pond

Per Wickstrom, founder and CEO of Best Drug Rehab says that “We always urge employers to have an open door policy with their staff. Most of the time an addict is actually looking for a way out but isn’t able to talk to family members who they feel would be much less forgiving of their problems. It’s an ethical thing wherein bosses can offer help that family members aren’t able to give. Instead of threatening drug tests, make it a company-wide policy to speak with HR or your immediate supervisor without worry over your job if you are able to admit a problem and seek help. We have found that the employers who are willing to institute a policy like this have a much higher success rate for getting workers healthy and back on the job than those that threaten termination.”

Employers are seeing an upsurge in drug abuse on the job. This leaves them with a dilemma as to whether or not to seek punishment. Whether the drug of choice is heroin or prescription opiates, the real issue is getting the addict help. With an open door policy and a boss who is willing to go the mile with that addict to get him or her help, there is a much better chance of recovery than when forcing the addict into the closet.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Boris Dzhingarov .

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