Too many people overlook the impact of drug abuse on the Workplace and society. Look at the different drugs permeating diverse workforces. For instance, we see a rise in the abuse of painkillers related to worksite accidents. According to one study completed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 68.9% of people with substance use disorder (SUD) are actively working.
In addition to that number, at least one-third of all workers are aware of illegal sales of substances occurring in the Workplace. Workplace safety is such an issue because people don’t understand and don’t want to understand the problem and its root issues. Drugs ruin many lives, not just the lives of the individuals using substances.
Drugs in the Workplace Ruin Lives
Using drugs in a business setting ruins the life and livelihood of the person abusing substances. In addition to destroying their own work-life, drug abuse also ruins the business as all workers struggle to manage their work and make up for their co-workers struggling with a form of SUD. Worksite drug abuse makes the environment toxic for workers relative to mood and interpersonal management, but it can also lead to serious accidents and even death.
Using substances in the workplace is dangerous and irresponsible. Just as failing to become informed about drugs in your workplace is also irresponsible. Understand, drug abuse hurts the person consuming substances while impairing their ability to work effectively; it also endangers the lives of everyone around them. In some cases, it can even extend to customers or consumers purchasing products from the company. Is this the kind of work environment you want to display?
7 Most Common Drugs Misused in the Workplace
Many drugs are misused in a work environment, but some are more common than others. The following is a short and generalized list of commonly misused substances found in the Workplace. Each of these substances is dangerous and has the potential to cause serious accidents and addiction. The use of any one of these substances, even by just one person, can have profound consequences in their personal lives and on the lives of their co-workers.
According to SAMHSA research, over 7 million American adults use marijuana. Furthermore, marijuana use accounts for over 50% of industrial accidents, more than 80% of workplace injuries, and increased absenteeism.
Marijuana can have devastating consequences on one’s work life, and marijuana users report negative effects in all aspects of their lives. Many people feel less present and miss out on things happening in their lives due to being high from marijuana.
Another critical component relative to marijuana use is how it is frequently “cut” with other substances. This means that a person consuming marijuana is likely using substances laced with other harmful and deadly drugs, creating even more hazardous conditions in their personal lives and the Workplace.
With this in mind, do not be surprised if an employee tests positive for multiple substances while using marijuana. The employee may assume and argue that all they are using is something to take the edge off, but they are being exposed to other substances that are highly addictive, and that can kill them and others in the Workplace.
#2. Prescription Medication
Misuse of prescription medication is not uncommon in the Workplace and is often found in shared substances. Not only are opiates heavily used, but so are amphetamines.
Amphetamines are often used for performance enhancement and to offset the side effects of other substances. Some persons who struggle with opiate use disorder (OUD) also struggle with amphetamine use to offset the sedation caused by opiates. Those struggling with addiction may not be able to stop the abuse of a sedating substance, so amphetamine use becomes more regular. Finally, they may be addicted to amphetamines as well.
One of the most misused prescription medication classes is narcotic painkillers. This class of drugs includes a variety of substances, from cough syrups to oxycontin. Often prescribed for serious injuries or chronic illnesses, these medicines have a high potential for abuse and addiction because they bind to dopamine receptors in the brain and make one feel better by eradicating the physical pain and masking some underlying symptoms and emotional pain.
Many people who struggle with OUD have co-occurring conditions or a history of trauma for which the prescribed medication masks and helps the person feel like they are functioning better. The truth of the matter is they only think they are doing better, which consequently puts them at risk for serious health complications and eliminates the possibility of clear thinking while managing their duties at work. This ultimately puts everyone at risk.
Alcohol is the most used and abused substance in the United States. In 2019, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), over 14 million American adults struggled with alcohol use disorder (AUD). In addition to those adults, 414,000 youth struggled with AUD. AUD is pervasive and causes over $30 billion in workplace costs, up to over $60 billion. Workplace accidents and deaths are highly correlated with alcohol use, which is why offering treatment is so critical to saving the lives of employees and improving the Workplace.
Cocaine is an incredibly addictive stimulant that also has some pain-relieving properties. People use it for the euphoric effects and, in some cases, to set off the sedating effects of other substances. According to a study in 2012, over 38 million people had used cocaine in their lifetime. This means it is actively used at worksites. One primary concern about its use in workplaces is people’s over-confidence when using cocaine, making those using it likely to engage in poor decision-making and reckless behavior, resulting in increased accidents and a more challenging work climate.
According to research conducted in 2017, over 120 million prescriptions were written for benzodiazepines. Used to manage anxiety, seizures, and muscle spasms and help people sleep, this class of substances is incredibly addictive and abused for a variety of reasons. Not only will these substances alter one’s perception of stressors, but they slow reaction times and increase the risk of accidents both at home and in the Workplace.
Heroin is modified morphine that is illegal and incredibly addictive. No matter how long a person has used heroin, the ramifications can be life-altering and deadly. Heroin is fast-acting and causes billions of dollars in damage in workplaces, schools, and communities. Heroin can be deadly for those who use it and those they interact with through violence, sharing needles, and passing on sexually transmitted infections (STI) like HIV.
Give Disabled Employees the Support They Deserve
Employees who struggle with addiction need support, not judgment. Their lives are already so negatively impacted by SUD that providing them with judgment and lectures may make them more likely to quit, dive deeper into substance use, or conceal the problem further. When this happens, employers often feel stuck and think of extreme solutions, such as ultimatums or even terminating the employee.
While ultimatums may seem like the best solution, they dismiss the problem and blame the person. Many people who abuse substances are struggling with more significant issues than just the abuse of substances. People with SUD often have co-occurring mental health conditions, or even comorbid conditions, which increase the risk of developing a SUD.
Persons with disabilities do not need judgment as they attempt to cope with problems they may feel ill-equipped to manage. Instead, offer a solution, compassion, and treatment. At White House Recovery and Detox, we provide real help to those struggling with SUD. We know the problem is not just the addiction, but deeper issues need to be addressed, and your employees want to recover. At White House Recovery and Detox, we not only help them with SUD, but we also help them get ready to live life again by offering comprehensive treatment, life skills, and training in job skills relative to the entertainment industry.
Firing Will Not Fix Your Problem
The use of substances by one person is often an indicator of a bigger problem and can spread throughout the Workplace. Where there is one person abusing substances, there may be more. The critical thing to remember is SUD is just a symptom of a more significant issue. Your employees want to live their best lives. Considering their goals and your desire to have a safe and productive workplace, shouldn’t you help them find the resources they need to find the strength and potential within themselves to start living their best lives and reaching their full potential in the Workplace?
Firing your employees creates a hole in your business and means you must retrain another person for the same position. Instead of firing, why not offer a solution? Consider offering support and resources to help your employee overcome SUD and get to the root of the problem. Not only will you be helping someone reclaim their life, but you will also get to keep a valued employee and improve your company.
Providing treatment for a problem improves morale and ensures your workforce is more willing to provide the best work possible. Give your employees a chance to show their willingness to live and work according to solid values. Consider offering the valuable treatment found at White House Recovery and Detox.
We Are the Best for a Reason
Use your best weapon in the fight against misinformation and apathy. White House Recovery and Detox offers real-world solutions based on the expert knowledge of clinicians who have spent decades navigating the field of addiction recovery. We can shed some light on the situation and help you see the truth about how your policies can make or break the morale, productivity, and mental health of your employees.
White House Recovery and Detox will help you see the problems in your company and help you find ways to understand your employees better and know the root of the substance use issues in your workforce.
Avoid Playing the Blame Game
Broaching the topic of substance misuse with someone you suspect may be struggling with addiction can feel impossible. You might be tempted to play the blame game, dump your misgivings, regret, fear, and confusion on them and blame that person for bringing substances into your business. However, that will not solve any problems and may only alienate that person and stop them from getting the help they desperately need.
Your co-worker or employee needs help, not blamed for all the problems in the company. Asking for accountability may be necessary, but so is offering solutions for the person struggling with SUD to rise above the problem they are struggling with. Most likely, this employee is aware of the problem and feels lost on how to find a solution. Your interest in their well-being may help them find the help they need. Also, your willingness to listen instead of jumping to judgment and blame may enable this person to open up and talk about the problem instead of hiding it further, quitting, or turning to heavy substance use to solve the problem. Being open is vital to solving the problem.
Avoid Falling Off the Rails
White House Recovery and Detox is here to answer your questions and provide information on the best decisions you can make going forward. You want your workplace to be safe and drug-free. So, finding solutions is critical and, frankly, a no-brainer. At White House Recovery and Detox, we want you to see success in your business. The time is now for identifying problems and looking for solutions. Imagine how much more you can accomplish if you start with one small step. Don’t just quit; ask for help in solving the problem.
Creating Comprehensive and Helpful Policies and Procedures
At White House Recovery and Detox, we recognize that substance use has created toxic and dangerous work environments for many people. How can you avoid alienating those who need help and ensure a safe and healthy workplace?
One thing your company can do is create policies in the Workplace to support all workers. Those who are struggling with substance abuse need accountability and support. At White House Recovery and Detox, we hold our clients accountable. We know our clients are capable of making positive and safe decisions. We recognize intrinsic worth in every person who walks through our doors, and we want to see them at their best. That’s why we offer life skills to those who seek treatment. We know they are willing to work hard, so we meet them in the middle.
Treatment for substance abuse can be challenging at any stage, from beginning to end. Overcoming years of substance abuse, regardless of the substances used, is difficult. So, at White House Recovery and Detox, we offer support through the whole process and expect to see success. We encourage our clients to start small and make larger strides with each step. We help our clients pursue the root issues and make sure our clients have the skills to re-enter the workforce safely and with a renewed purpose.
We recognize relapse can happen, but we also know that if you work hard through the program and put forth the effort in practicing new life skills, the risk of relapse decreases. Why not help your Workplace by helping those struggling with substance abuse? Stop avoiding the conversation. Don’t blame the person with the problem. Offer support and work together to find a solution. White House Recovery and Detox might save a life and your company.
Understanding the root causes of substance use disorder can save your workforce. When planning to approach someone whom you believe might be struggling with substance abuse, having a plan is critical. However, you must be willing to offer a solution. At White House Recovery and Detox, we understand the frustration of having substance abuse occur in the workplace, which is why we offer real-world solutions and want to help you help your employees. We know you want to empower workers into change and not just offer ultimatums. What better resource and solution can you provide than an opportunity to treat the whole person? At White House Recovery and Detox, we do just that. We know life can be difficult, but the people who walk through our doors leave with a new lease on life. Call White House Recovery and Detox today at (800) 510-5393 and learn how we can help.