Drugs At The Workplace
02/19/19: Addiction Recovery \ Drug Addiction
Addiction is something that can affect anyone, it may be someone you least expect. One of the most alarming facts to hear about addiction is that nearly 70% of people who are employed at least part-time struggle with addiction. Normally, when you picture someone struggling with addiction, you would think someone on the streets who has nothing to lose. This isn’t always the case. Drugs and alcohol can plague the workplace even though it may come as a shock.
When addiction starts to take ahold of someone in their work life, it can jeopardize their current position. Many addicts need money to not only sustain their current living, but also their addiction. Many addicts try to maintain a work/addiction balance. However, addiction will always catch up in the end and can affect job security. It can cause tardiness, decreased motivation to work, and even jeopardize workplace relationships. How can you tell if someone is struggling with addiction in the workplace?
Signs of Drug Abuse
It may not always be so easy to spot someone in the workplace who is struggling with addiction, a person may be good at hiding it. But, there are some things you can look for in a person who may be struggling with addiction. If a person usually comes in with a disheveled look, consistently shows up late, and/or has regular and noticeable mood swings, they may be struggling with addiction. Another common sign is a poor work ethic (i.e. not meeting deadlines or failure to make a good judgment). Drug abuse can turn an exceptional employee to someone totally different, but a person does not just change overnight, these changes happen over time and aren’t always easily noticed.
Adults across the U.S. struggle with addiction, it is a very common issue. Addiction doesn’t necessarily mean someone is regularly using heroin or other illicit drugs like that. Addiction can mean a person is addicted to over-the-counter drugs, like common pain medications. Addiction to simple over-the-counter drugs can be just as dangerous as any other addiction.
Despite the numbers for people addicted to over-the-counter drugs is high, people will also bring in more serious addictions into the workplace. Drug addiction can make a person feel less fear when using drugs at work and many people have started to smoke marijuana out of contemporary devices in order to avoid the smell, but still get their euphoric high. While there are businesses that drug-test their employees, many do not practice drug tests or are moving away from their use.
Addiction can take over your life, but not every addiction is different from person-to-person. Whether their addiction is their fuel for making money or their addiction followed them into a new job, it is no doubt dangerous in the long-term.
Dealing With Drug Use In The Workplace
As we discussed earlier, some tell-tale signs of addiction in the workplace are tardiness, disheveled appearance, and low drive to perform. Most of the time, these signs will let an employer know that there is something wrong with the employee. When it comes to signs like mood swings, an employer may have a harder time pinning down what the mood changes mean. The employer has to make a decision on how to deal with this issue: Support them out of moral obligation or start to file paperwork for termination. Either way, an employer is put into a lose-lose situation. On one hand, the employer has to fire the employee because of their recent job performance. On the other hand, the employer cannot offer health care coverage for their addiction and can only address their behavior in hopes to discover what the employee is going through. At the end of the day, it is up to the employee to seek change and fight their addiction in the workplace. You can even see these sorts of issues in Hollywood.
In Hollywood, there have been drug abuse scandals on top of drug abuse scandals. Robert Downey Jr., one of Hollywood’s most successful actors, struggled with serious drug and alcohol addiction in the past but came out on top and made a name for himself. Other celebrities have also done some self-reflection and beat their addiction, like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. On the other side of the coin, there have been people in Hollywood that fell victim to addiction and could not escape it. Most notably, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger both passed away this last decade due to their addictions. Loved ones, co-workers, and friends more than likely tried to help all these people with their battles against addiction, but ultimately, it was up to the addict to come face-to-face with who they were.
Workplace addiction is something many people struggle with, but who are the ones that are more vulnerable than others? Most notably, people that work in the mining industry are exceptionally vulnerable to heroin and meth addiction. People working in mining industries make up a significant portion of heroin and meth overdoses. According to SAMHSA's findings, people that work in the mining industry can struggle with severe addiction in alcohol, meth, heroin, and prescription drugs, most likely because of the dangers their jobs can put them in. If miners are not addicted to painkillers that are prescribed by their doctors for injuries, they are more likely to turn to street drugs to treat their injuries.
The people that are most vulnerable to addiction in the workplace are those who work under strenuous conditions. Stock market/business employees, first responders, enlisted soldiers, miners, and any other kind of job that puts serious stress on someone because of the conditions these people work under are particularly vulnerable to becoming a victim of addiction. However, drug addiction can also affect any workplace. Whether you’re a soldier or a fast-food employee, a first responder or a real estate agent, addiction can happen to anyone and at any time. Always be mindful of your co-workers and look for the signs that may shine some light on a person’s addiction.
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