EAP benefits

Drug Use in the Workplace


With depression and stress on the rise in the workplace, many people turn to things like drugs to deal with their struggles. As an employer and overseer of your company, it’s vital to know how to handle this in your workplace. In order to more effectively run your team, you will want to be aware of some of the pitfalls your employees may face and how to help them in a time of need. We want to share with you some surprising statistics to give you an idea of how common drugs are in the workplace and how to know when someone may be using them. EAP benefits can provide great tools and useful resources to help you as an employer focus on running your company well while dealing with this epidemic in the workplace.

“In 2016, 217 employees died on the job due to drug overdoses or alcohol.”


Drug Use Statistics

According to a survey from treatment website Detox, seven out of ten Americans have used drugs while at work, including opiates, amphetamines, and cocaine. That’s a substantial percentage of employees! Psychemedics.com also notes that in order to pass work drug tests, 31.51 percent of respondents said they use detox drinks, and 24.37 percent substitute their urine. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2016, 217 employees died on the job due to drug overdoses or alcohol. The Wall Street Journal reported that this increased by 30 percent over the previous year, and drug overdose deaths skyrocketed to 64,000 in 2016. The opioid crisis in the workplace is on the rise, and we encourage all employers to be aware of these shocking statistics as a reminder of how important access to rehabilitation resources are.


Signs Your Employees Could Be Using

With all of the rising statistics over the years, how do you know if your employee may be struggling with drug abuse/addiction? Some signs may include consistent tardiness or absenteeism, change in appearance (unkempt clothes, neglecting personal hygiene), bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, or looking “spaced out”. Many employees who use drugs experience mood swings, withdraw from work, become irrational, avoid people, take an increased amount of bathroom breaks, etc. Some of these signs are more obvious than others, but if you notice almost all of these, there’s a chance that your employee could be using some sort of drug. It’s easier to notice over time and if you knew the person before they started using. Make sure your coworkers, managers, and supervisors are aware of this epidemic so that they can keep an eye out for strange changes in the behavior of their coworkers that could point to a drug problem.


How Your EAP Benefits can Help Employees Recover

An Employee Assistance Program is a win-win for both you as an employer and your employees. There are many EAP benefits that can help with drug abuse in your workplace. Due to the large amount of responsibility that you have as an employer, there is no way, nor is it appropriate for you to be responsible for helping your employees with their drug abuse rehabilitation. What you can do is encourage them to get help by partnering with EAP benefits such as ours at Care Plus Solutions. With hands-on help with telephonic counselors, your team can talk to health professionals and receive referrals to whatever help they may need. There are also resources like our wellness solutions with access to health and wellness coaches and more. Find all about our EAP resources and tools here: https://www.careplussolutions.com/eap. As an employer, it’s so important to direct an employee who is struggling with drugs to a professional who can help right away.

Question: My employee entered treatment after a positive drug test for an opioid. Things have been going well, but lately, his attendance has been slipping. How many chances should we give someone like this if, in fact, he has relapsed? Nothing is spelled out in the policy.*

Answer: Those in recovery for addictive diseases are prone to relapse like those with other illnesses. Still, most people react emotionally to drug relapse, including employers. There are important issues to consider with relapse—the impact on your organization, risk, productivity, and the value of your worker. Employers often fire workers who relapse because they fear they are enabling them or are angry or feel taken advantage of. These reactions may not best serve the organization. Referring the employee back to the EAP is often the best choice. Some employers have referred a worker who relapses back to treatment numerous times, but with each incident have made the decision in the best interest of the organization. Most employees do not want to lose their jobs. Therefore, strong leverage exists to maintain close communication with the EAP and to create a firm agreement with the employee so he or she can follow through with its recommendations. It is this close communication between all parties that ensures relapse does not recur.*


We hope this article has opened your eyes to the concerning drug use epidemic in the workplace today. It is important as an employer to avail your team of resources like an EAP. This helps to build employee morale, engagement, and the feeling of being valued. With the aid of a great Employee Assistance Program, you can give your employees a chance to overcome some of life’s obstacles and live a healthy lifestyle.

Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.


* Copyright ©2019 by DFA Publishing & Consulting, LLC.


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