Addiction in the Workplace

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Addiction in the Workplace

Have you noticed one of your coworkers coming into work high or drunk on a regular basis? Or maybe this person takes long lunches in order to go to the bar, only to come back slurring their words and falling asleep at their desk. Everyone seems to have ‘that guy’ in their office, but no one seems to know how to help him or her. That person you see as a lazy employee could be battling a drug or alcohol problem.

Addiction or alcohol abuse in the workplace is a common occurrence. Over 75 percent of people with an alcohol or drug problem are employed, and their addiction or alcohol problem causes 60% of workplace absentees and lateness. These people are also 3.5 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident, which is endangering themselves and others. But, the employer has the opportunity to help those struggling with an addiction. The first step is to recognize it.

Some signs of addiction to look out for in employees are:

  • Lack of productivity
  • Long lunches
  • Short work days
  • Disregard for appearance
  • Avoiding coworkers or blaming them for mistakes
  • Slurred speech
  • Low work quality

Once the problem is recognized, employers can offer their employee help. They can refer them to a drug or alcohol treatment facility or give them a list of self-help meetings in the area. This is not only helping the addict, but helping their company as well. Once the addict is in recovery, he or she may be allowed to return to work and increase productivity.