Signs That a Co-Worker is Abusing Substances

November 8, 2019

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A Co-Worker is Abusing Substances

Substance abuse impacts every facet of a person’s life, including their job and co-workers. Other than lost productivity, when a co-worker is abusing substances, it puts each employee at risk of injury. When a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, accidents can happen whether in a production area, a warehouse, or in the office sitting at a desk.

Symptoms That a Co-Worker is Abusing Substances

There are symptoms and signs that you will notice if a co-worker is abusing substances. Chances are that you have worked with this individual for a while, so you will notice changes in their work habits.

Some symptoms that a co-worker is abusing substances include:

  • Mood swings and changes in attitudes
  • A decrease in work performance
  • Changes in personal appearance
  • Poor work attendance
  • Withdrawal from other co-workers
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Defensive attitude

There are other tell-tale signs that you might notice such as a co-worker that is under the influence and cannot focus or concentrate on their tasks. A co-worker who seems to be sick with flu-like symptoms may actually be going through withdrawal symptoms from a substance. You might even see them making illegal sales of drugs to other employees.

What Substances are Being Abused in the Workplace?

You may be surprised to know that many individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol hold down full-time jobs. This may be hard to believe. However, many of these employees go to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is an accident waiting to happen in one form or another.

Some of the many substances being abused in the workplace are:

  • Prescription stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin
  • Illegal stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines
  • Prescription opioids such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, etc.
  • Illegal opioids such as heroin
  • Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, or Ativan
  • Prescription sedatives such as Lunesta or Sonata
  • Alcohol

As you can see, the workplace can be a very dangerous environment. Any time a co-worker is abusing substances of any type, each employee is put in danger. Therefore, it is to everyone’s benefit, if you report anything that makes you suspect that a co-worker is abusing substances.

How Substance Abuse Affects Co-Workers

When a person is abusing substances, whether at work or at home, their productivity is not what it should be at their job. They may be suffering from a hangover and not carry their load for that particular day. Furthermore, they may have many days when they call in sick and are absent from work altogether. In any case, someone else is having to work harder to carry their load at work. This can cause resentment and bad relationships in the workplace.

How to Help When a Co-Worker is Abusing Substances

The U.S. News reports that “MORE THAN HALF OF U.S. states and roughly one-third of major U.S. industries saw their rates of workforce drug test positives climb over the past three years.

There must be something that can be done to help these employees. One of the first steps you can take when approaching a co-worker who is abusing substances is to let them know that substance abuse and addiction in the workplace are common today. This will help them to not feel singled out among all other workers.

Many companies allow time off from work for an employee to enter an inpatient addiction treatment facility and receive help for their issues. This assures the employee that their job will still be there after they complete treatment for addiction. Furthermore, they know that they have the full support of their company in their endeavor.

Contact New Beginnings Drug Rehab to Learn More

If you have a co-worker who is in need of help for substance abuse or addiction, talk with them and ask them to seek help from an inpatient addiction treatment center. Inpatient addiction treatment is available to all who need it.

Contact one of our representatives to learn more about inpatient addiction treatment and the many different programs available. They can answer any questions you may have regarding treatment for addiction.


  • usnews.comOregon, Maine Have Highest Rates of Positive Workforce Drug Tests

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