HR Management & Compliance

Getting a Grip on the Opioid Epidemic and Substance Abuse in the Workplace

As an HR manager, do you have a protocol for what to do if someone overdoses on the premises? What is your plan for when a coworker informs you that another employee has been high on the job? Do you have a system for tracking absences to identify employees with substance abuse problems? Substance abuse, and opioid abuse in particular, is a very challenging topic that requires a lot of careful planning and nuanced solutions on the part of HR.

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Substance abuse has always been an issue for employers, but recent trends concerning the opioid crisis have brought that issue to the forefront. We at the HR Daily Advisor have been doing our best over the last few years to provide our readers with as many perspectives and resources as possible so that when substance abuse creates a problem at your workplace, you are ready. We are publishing an article series in two parts today and tomorrow to help you in that effort. Please keep in mind that some of the resources we provide are opioid-specific, but the advice in these articles also applies more broadly to substance abuse in general.

Understanding the Problem and Identifying Employees Who Might Have a Substance Abuse Problem

The gravity of substance and opioid abuse might not yet have been felt at your organization. However, many experts believe that the opioid epidemic will get a lot worse before it gets better. Unfortunately, that means that the likelihood of an employer’s having to deal with an employee struggling with substance abuse problems is very high.

In this article, we explore the magnitude of the opioid epidemic, as well as how to identify an employee with an opioid dependency. It is an excellent introduction to the problem at hand. That article is continued here, with some suggestions on handling opioid problems in the workplace.

How to Approach an Employee Who Might Be Dealing with Addiction

Employers are often tempted to immediately fire someone they suspect of being an addict. Many experts disagree, however. The situation is immensely complex and requires a very nuanced approach. In this article, we take a deeper dive into how to approach an employee who might be dealing with addiction.

When Can You Intervene in an Employee Substance Abuse Issue?

Once you have identified what types of substance abuse problems might be facing your workforce, and once you have perhaps identified one or more employees with a problem, what do you do next? Can you intervene? To what extent and when? This article helps you through these complicated issues.

Tomorrow, we’ll provide you with a few more resources so that you are better equipped to handle substance and opioid abuse problems in your workplace.