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One of the most major but also one of the most underrated substance abuse problem that gets almost no national recognition is Americans who abuse drugs or alcohol and also try to hold a steady job. They show up for work high or drunk, they miss work because they are high or drunk, they don’t really get anything done at work because they are high or drunk, and they often cause accidents and hurt themselves or others because they are high or drunk too.
Alcohol abuse and drug abuse among employees and their family members can be an expensive problem for business and for industry, with issues ranging in this area from lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft and low employee morale, to an increase in health care, legal liabilities and workers’ compensation costs. The list goes on. Having a substance abuser for an employee is actually a huge risk and is incredibly costly, hence the now far more common use of drug tests by employers in the United States.
To get back to the risks of having an addict or a substance abuser for an employee though, some of what could be experienced on the job as a result are:
• Premature death/fatal accidents
• Injuries/accident rates
• Absenteeism/extra sick leave
• Loss of production
• Tardiness/sleeping on the job
• After-effects of substance use (hangover, withdrawal) affecting job performance
• Poor decision making
• Loss of efficiency
• Lower morale of co-workers
• Increased likelihood of having trouble with co-workers/supervisors or tasks
• Preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentration
• Illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees
• Higher turnover
• Difficulty in training of new employees
• Disciplinary procedures not being taken seriously
Which Types of Careers Tend to Attract Substance Abusers the Most
While it’s totally possible that addicted or substances abusing individuals can enter into any type of career or business at any time, there are a few that tend to attract such individuals. These are:
• Food service
• Mining and Drilling
• Installation, maintenance and repair
Statistics on the Truth About Workplace Substance Abuse
The truth is, workplace substance abuse is a lot more common and prevalent than most people think it is. For some statistics on it from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), and from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, (NIAAA):
• Workers who report having three or more jobs in the previous five years are about twice as likely to be current or past year users of illegal drugs as those who have had two or fewer jobs.
• 70% of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed.
• Marijuana is the most commonly used and abused illegal drug by employees, followed by cocaine, with prescription drug use steadily increasing.
• Workers with alcohol problems were 2.7 times more likely than workers without drinking problems to have injury-related absences.
• A hospital emergency department study showed that 35 percent of patients with an occupational injury were at-risk drinkers.
• Breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in 16% of emergency room patients injured at work.
• Analyses of workplace fatalities showed that at least 11% of the victims had been drinking.
• Large federal surveys show that 24% of workers report drinking during the workday at least once in the past year.
• One-fifth of workers and managers across a wide range of industries and company sizes report that a coworker’s on- or off-the-job drinking jeopardized their own productivity and safety.
Rehabilitation Needed for Addicted and Afflicted Workers
Just as rehabilitation is needed for anyone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol in the United States, rehabilitation is certainly needed for those who are addicted and who are trying to hold a job or a career. By rehabilitation is meant an inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment center, detox facility, rehab program, and recovery organization. This is exactly the type of treatment that will best help an addicted worker.
With rehab, an addicted worker will at first be detoxed, meaning that he or she will go through a detoxification program to handle any physical aspects of drug and alcohol addiction. This is highly beneficial because it stops chemical dependence and it cures it right then and there.
The next step is the rehabilitation step itself, and by this is meant all of the counseling, therapy, electives, life skills, relapse prevention, coping skills, and other techniques that are taught to a recovering addict to help him or her stay sober. These are highly beneficial as well.
After rehab is completed, workers who are now recovered addicts can go into an aftercare program. This is an approach to addiction recovery that one does after rehab is completed. It can be done on an outpatient basis and can be done in the evenings or on the weekends or whenever the individual is not at work. In this way, he or she can continue to work on his or her recovery and sobriety in such a way that the chances of relapse are significantly lowered.
In the end, no one should ever have to suffer from addiction, no matter who they are or what kind of trouble they have gotten themselves into. Eradicating addiction in employees is majorly beneficial too because these are the individuals that ultimately will be doing their best to further the goals and ambitions of the country as a whole. For these reasons, they should be helped and gotten into a rehab center as soon as it is found out that they are abusing drugs and alcohol. In this way, they can go to rehab for a few months, get cleaned up and rehabilitated, and then get back to work and continue their lives and their careers as successful, contributing members of society and not problematic addicts.