You are currently viewing Substance Abuse in the Workplace
  • Post last modified:October 5, 2020
  • Post category:Insurance

No business owner should have to face a problem like this, but do you have a plan of action if you suspect substance abuse in the workplace? It could be a very problematic issue for your business, because:

  • Substance abuse can strongly impact a person’s judgement, which can reflect on their experiences with your customers
  • Things like hangovers or withdrawals can affect an employee’s work performance if they are abusing substances
  • You may see a rise in absenteeism, illness, or reduced productivity
  • Most drugs are illegal, and being on substances on work is incredibly unprofessional – this can affect the reputation of your business

The first step to handling substance abuse in the workplace is identifying the issue. Most individuals see substance abuse as an addiction problem, but that is not always the case. Substance abuse in the workplace can scale anywhere from recreational to a frequent and problematic issue. Here are signs to look out for according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

  • Cravings
  • Compulsion to use
  • Loss of control of amount or frequency of use
  • Use despite consequences


How to Handle Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Confronting this issue can be very complicated, so it’s important to take a person-centered approach. While it’s important to respect your employees’ privacy, it’s equally important to note that substance abuse in the workplace can and certainly will affect their performance, and therefore needs to be addressed.

First of all, you should have work policies that address substance abuse, and is up front and open about your expectations of your employees. Your policy should define substance abuse, the intentions or objectives of your policy, and how to maintain confidentiality when dealing with the issue.  Additionally, you should vocally be active in supporting and nurturing a drug-free workplace with your staff. Once you make it known among your staff, be sure to keep spreading awareness in manuals or training sessions, and if you want to take it a step further, offer an employee wellness program as well.

If you suspect one of your staff has an issue with substance abuse in the workplace, schedule a private one-on-one meeting with that staff member, and be sure to keep the focus of your concerns on their job performance. It’s important to set the tone with this conversation by letting your employee know that they are valued and respected, but to conclude with presenting your suspicions and your expectations on how they can deal with it.

No matter how you stay prepared for substance abuse in the workplace, it’s important to always have the proper protection in place, in case something were to go unfortunately wrong with your business. If you have any questions on your commercial insurance, or would like to get a quote from one of our professional, licensed insurance agents, click the link below to learn more.