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The Cost of Substance Abuse in the Workplace: Everything You Need to Know

The Cost of Substance Abuse in the Workplace: Everything You Need to Know

As an employer or upper-level manager, it’s important to understand the implications of substance abuse in the workplace so that you can ensure policies and practices promote recovery. Many businesses do not take this into consideration, as they view it as a “personal” or “outside” issue that doesn’t affect actual work performance. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth – according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance use costs the workplace more than $740 billion annually. Many employees experience mental illness and other concerns, which lead them to abuse substances in an attempt to self-medicate. In turn, this impacts many areas of their life – including their work.

A number of consequences can derive from substance abuse, including:

  • Showing up late to work
  • Experiencing hangover or withdrawal, which can make it more difficult for your employee to concentrate on their projects
  • Poor decision making which could place business practices in jeopardy
  • Theft
  • Lower employee morale, which could spread to others in the workplace
  • Increased likelihood of experiencing problems with coworkers/managers as a result of substance abuse
  • Becoming more preoccupied with using than doing their job
  • Higher turnover

As Very Well Mind, a website that provides information on disorders, self-improvement, psychology and more states, businesses lose money when they have to train and hire new employees. Disciplinary actions can also be costly, especially if employees are instructed to take a leave of absence from their position for a period of time.

A 2018 study published in the journal Social Work sought to explore workplace-related limiting factors associated with substance abuse. Overall, researchers found that there is a general underestimation of substance abuse issues in the workplace – many employees are afraid to speak to their managers in fear of losing their job, and managers may very well be the ones who are depending on substances. All in all, it’s important that resources are provided for employees to seek help, and if you personally struggle with substance abuse, it’s important that you reach out to a professional from a reputable treatment center to begin your journey to recovery.

For more information on our treatment programs and services for professionals, call us today: 855-422-4129.

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