HR Management & Compliance

Best Practices for Helping Employees Who Suffer from Addiction

According to research, nearly 50% of companies reported that alcohol abuse was present among their employees and that around 32% of their employees were addicted to prescription drugs.


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Such research reveals how addiction in the modern-day workplace is starting to become an epidemic, costing employers billions annually. Opioid addiction alone costs employers $2.6 billion per year.

Even so, employers continue to promote drinking engagements, and the keg is becoming the new water cooler. Employees are thus beginning to lose all sight of work/life balance and are steadily becoming more depressed and stressed and abusing substances as a result.

Here are a few ways to help your employees who suffer from addiction so that they can go back to being productive and satisfied at work.

Implement a Zero-Tolerance Substance Abuse Policy

Employers should consider officially endorsing a drug-free workplace via written and documented policies if they want to mitigate or lessen the instances of employees suffering from addiction. They can require employees to undergo periodic drug screenings and mandate that employees report illicit activities involving drugs and drug abuse, for example.

Employers can also implement policies and procedures for recording and documenting instances when employees are suffering from addiction. And they should consider putting such policies and requirements in writing so that employees officially understand and agree to their responsibilities for ensuring a drug-free work environment.

Recognize Warning Signs of Addiction

Many employers or managers don’t recognize telltale signs that an employee is suffering from addiction until it’s too late. However, they should learn some of the signs so they can help these employees who are suffering. Warning signs of addiction include:

  • Personality and behavioral changes
  • Changes in personal hygiene and appearance
  • Unexplained and frequent absences or tardiness

Offer Resources and Comprehensive Wellness Options

Offer high-quality resources and guidance to employees who are undergoing substance abuse problems or who are suffering from addiction. Also, provide them with access to the health care they need for treatment and rehabilitation, and allow them to access anonymous hotlines and tip lines so they can learn more about who to contact for professional help.

Additionally, train managers and leaders on how and when to intervene appropriately when they believe one of their employees is suffering from addiction. And to mitigate addiction issues inside your workplace altogether, consider comprehensive wellness programs that help employees learn how to cope with stress, that promote mental health, etc.

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