Many of us falsely believe that drug addiction is mainly seen amongst unemployed and homeless populations, either because addictive behaviors prevent the ability to maintain employment, or because we assume drugs are simply more prevalent in these circles. In reality, however, studies conducted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) suggest that as many as 70% of drug and alcohol addicts are, in fact, successfully employed. This means addiction in the workplace is a serious issue that all employers should consider.
Illicit drugs feature especially prominently in those findings, with marijuana and cocaine both thought to be the most commonly used substances in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, the prevalence of this use has led occupational health associates to believe that this problem costs American companies as much as $81 billion per year, as well as significantly impacting performance and job satisfaction. Worse, sometimes high-pressure workplace environments make it increasingly difficult to realize that there’s a problem, let alone seek treatment before issues make themselves known. In this article, we consider addiction in the workplace and the need for Kentucky addiction treatment as offered by RAC to finally get this problem under control.
The risks of drug abuse in the workplace
Whether you’re a worried manager looking to eliminate drug abuse or an employee realizing that drug addiction could take its toll on your position, understanding the risks of drugs in the workplace is essential for taking positive steps towards change. Absenteeism is perhaps the most obvious of these, factoring for $25.5billion of company addiction costs overall, but that’s the tip of the iceberg on what drugs can do once they become too firmly cemented into a company’s culture. Other notable risk factors also include –
- Increased risk of injury
- Higher prevalence of theft
- Poor job performance
- Needless risk-taking
- Poor decision making
- Lower morale
- Higher turnover
- And more
The causes of addiction in the workplace
It’s difficult to pinpoint the reasons for standalone addictions in the workplace, but recurring company-wide problems typically stem from issues that are easier to recognize. Research has especially revealed that factors mostly fuelling addiction in the workplace include –
- Workplace culture: Work cultures that openly accept or even expect drug addiction/heavy drinking are more likely to fall foul to these problems.
- Poor job quality: Studies show that stressful, isolating, or even unchallenging job roles can all increase the risks of alcoholism and substance abuse.
- Substance availability: Employees who are unvetted in terms of bringing alcohol or drugs to work are far more likely to develop addictions.
- A lack of supervision: A slightly higher prevalence of substance abuse noted among night workers with limited supervision suggests a link between managerial presence and workplace addiction.
- Peer pressure in the workplace: New employees often feel pressure to mimic addictive behaviors that are engrained in workplace culture, thus perpetuating addictive tendencies overall.
Whose responsibility is addiction in the workplace?
When addiction becomes a workplace issue, it isn’t always clear who should take responsibility for the problem. Obviously, as is always the case with substance abuse, individuals need to account for their own actions before recovery is possible. That said, even attempts at professional detoxification can prove challenging when the issue is much deeper rooted than individual usage. Hence why, often, true and effective change with regards to these workplace challenges should take the form of more proactive moves from management.
Studies have especially shown that managers who support their employees through the funding of comprehensive and accessible outpatient treatment programs can decrease absenteeism by as much as 91%. Not to mention that these proactive steps significantly reduce the risks of injuries at work by getting to the root of this problem on a far wider scale.
Addiction in the workplace calls for Kentucky addiction treatment
When addiction makes itself at home in the workplace, it can be an incredibly difficult problem to address, leaving employees at risk of both falling foul to negative work cultures and increasing their chances of injury on the job. Unfortunately, in-patient programs that take employees away from their jobs for untold periods can significantly worsen the absenteeism caused by this issue in the first place, making it far harder to encourage managers towards this plan of action.
By comparison, intensive outpatient programs that work with managers to keep employees at work during all-important recovery can make a huge difference for workplace functionality and happiness in general. Of course, it’s not possible to enforce treatment on people who don’t want it, but accessible solutions like those offered by RAC, made visible across entire workforces can certainly help to turn the tide on addiction in the workplace at last.