Substance abuse in the workplace affects both employers and employees with drastic risks to safety, productivity, and reputations. The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) estimates companies lose $100 billion a year due to alcohol and drug-related incidents.

Take a closer look

  • 8% of the American adult and adolescent population is affected by substance abuse disorders
  • 75% of people in the U.S. struggling with addiction are employed
  • Unintentional poisoning, including drug overdose, was the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. in 2016, surpassing motor vehicle accidents
  • Construction, entertainment, recreation, and food service industries have the highest rates of substance use disorders
  • 20% of work-related fatality victims test positive for drugs or alcohol
  • 40% of workplace fatalities are caused by someone testing positive for drugs or alcohol

Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Workplace as a Whole

  • Lower morale
  • Accidents
  • Thefts
  • Increased likelihood of interpersonal problems
  • Illicit activities at work such as buying and selling drugs among other employees
  • Higher turnover
  • Frequent training of new employees

And Make Work Difficult for Employees Themselves

  • Poor attendance
  • Sleeping on the job
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Working while hungover or in withdrawal
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Accidental injury or death

Workplace Factors can Contribute to Alcohol and Substance Abuse

  • Stressful or highly competitive environments
  • Boring or isolating positions
  • Low levels of autonomy, complexity, or control over work conditions
  • Aggressive, verbally abusive, disrespectful, or harassing behavior
  • Availability of alcohol
  • Food service, construction, mining, maintenance sectors
  • Predominantly male workplaces have a higher level of substance abuse for both genders

Signs of an Alcohol or Substance Abuse Problem at Work

  • Showing up with hangover symptoms, such as headache, sensitivity to light, and irritability
  • Unexplained changes in mood or behavior
  • Withdrawal from other coworkers
  • Tense or strained interactions with others
  • Sleeping while at work
  • Decline in overall appearance including bad breath, wrinkled clothes, and disheveled hair
  • An unexplained decline in work quality
  • An unusual amount of time needed to complete a routine task
  • Missing deadlines
  • Unexplained disappearances while at work
  • Bringing alcohol or substances in a concealed container
  • Repeatedly using mints or mouthwash
  • Avoiding supervisors
  • Frequently calling in sick or not showing up for scheduled shifts
  • Frequently absent on Fridays, Mondays, or after payday

What to do if a Coworker has a Problem

We rely on our coworkers for a safe and pleasant work environment. They are our team members and friends. But what happens when we suspect that a coworker is showing up to work intoxicated, or is battling addiction?

Many of us want to defend them and cover-up for their mistakes so that they’re not in danger of losing their job. Unfortunately, this just enables the problem to spiral further. If you believe a coworker may be struggling, it is important to intervene.

If you are close, you may want to have a conversation with them in a neutral setting, and with an empathetic tone. Be prepared to listen and not point fingers. Explain why you are worried. If you don’t feel comfortable having a face-to-face conversation, speak with a supervisor or HR manager.

Akua Can Help<h/3>

Akua offers a range of rehabilitation and recovery programs. From detox to residential and intensive outpatient options, a clinical team works closely with each client to determine the best care for their needs. If you are curious for yourself or a loved one, call 833-258-2669.


You might also like

Skip to content