Drugs In The Workplace–What a Concept

Wed, February 6th, 2013 - 2:08 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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If most employers believe that substance abuse is not an issue, they better look again at their staff.  There are exceptions of course, and many employees are either moderate drinkers and drug free or don’t indulge enough to  create problem.  But then there are the others, a few, who come to the workplace bleary eyed from a late night of doing whatever.

There are the employees with drug problems, alcohol problems, and quite often, there are the accompanying money and domestic problems.   They seem to come in a package.  Not always, but enough that an employer should be aware that abuse in one area can lead to negligent or liability issues in another.

HRMAGAZINE of the UK posted an interesting article about substance issues in the workplace.  It is well worth reading.

Here are but a few quotes from the article…”The TUC estimates that between 3% and 5% of all work absences are due to alcohol, which costs the UK economy nearly £2 billion a year. Recent research from drug and alcohol screening provider Concateno reveals that one in 30 employees (3.23% of the 1.6 million UK employees it tested in 2011) has drugs in their system at any one time in the workplace. If that figure were extrapolated for the UK population, it would equate to 940,000 people. And a 2012 survey by law firm Blake Lapthorn found that most organisations think the use of alcohol (61%) and drugs (54%) by employees outside the office has an adverse effect on their work.

The effects don’t stop at the costs of absenteeism, reduced productivity, errors and underperformance. They also encompass potentially disastrous health and safety issues – for the individual, their colleagues and the public – as well as the legal implications for the company. UK businesses can’t just stick their heads in the sand: they need to address the issue or leave themselves vulnerable.”

Pay heed and take action.  Getting out in front of substance issues among employees is the best way to handle it.  Pre-Employment Drug Tests may be warranted with the random followup drug and alcohol testing from time to time.


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