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Why Your Company Needs a Substance Abuse Policy

Why Your Company Needs a Substance Abuse Policy

America takes pride in being a country full of hard workers. We keep to our work ethic as if it were a code on honor. We stay late and show up early, and have created all sorts of innovative products, services, and even evolutionary ideas. We have put computers in every household and even put a man on the moon. America’s workers have also drunk a lot of alcohol and done a lot of drugs, as partying becomes a way of life for some and a method of coping for others.

Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace isn’t such an isolated event as it should be. There are many people who are currently employed who are drug abusers and functioning alcoholics. Drug use at work is an issue, regardless of the industry and drug rehabilitation programs are aimed at getting people the help they need so that they can focus on their families and jobs.

Drug and Alcohol Policies

All companies have an implied or explicit drug and alcohol policy in place that forbids their employees from engaging in these activities during work hours. This is regardless of whether or not the drug or alcohol use is due to stress in the workplace. The typical policy for the workplace sets forth conditions under which employees can be tested for the use of drugs, why these tests are necessary, and policies that pertain to the use and abuse of these substances, the identification of and treatment for it.

Why Employees are Monitored

Using drugs at work is anything but harmless. While the user might be of the opinion that they aren’t hurting anyone, they harm people that work around them, the company they work for, and even the investors and owners of the company.

Substance abuse in the workplace leads to things like:

Higher rates of absenteeism. Employees who feels too tired or hungover to do their jobs can lead to them calling in sick more frequently. A higher rate of absenteeism not only reduces productivity, it causes co-workers to have to bear the load of the absent employee, as well as their own. Excessive absenteeism is also grounds for termination.

Poor job performance. When workers are high or drunk, it can be difficult for them to remain focused on their work. They might not be able to handle complex work, or they might make a bunch of mistakes due to their brain being too foggy to pay attention and catch them. At times, workers might even be so focused on when they can get their next high that they aren’t able to focus on anything else. Drug use at work leads to work that is subpar, increasing the chances that the employees must be terminated.


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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.