Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death in the United State. As a result, employee drug abuse is becoming much more prominent in the workplace place. It is becoming increasingly important for employers to know how to identify the signs of abuse in employees and help them seek recovery. An estimate of 6 million Americans misuses prescription drugs each month. Looking at averages alone, most large organizations have at least one person on their staff dealing with drug abuse. The following are a way to spot substance abuse in employees.
- Excessive absenteeism:
According to data collected by Promises Treatment Center, drug abusers miss 10 days for each one that is missed by other employees. Not all frequent absenteeism is attributed to drug abuse. However, it is a sign that something may be wrong.
- Lack of productivity:
One of the major costs to businesses attributed to employee drug abuse is a loss of productivity. When an employee is struggling with drug abuse they are only 2/3 as productive as the average co-workers. If an employee is meandering through the workday with little output there is likely an issue. However, this does not necessarily entail drug addiction.
- Alterations in personal appearance:
Drug abusers can often show signs in their physical appearance. These include dramatic weight loss, poor dental hygiene, glassy or red eyes, acne/dull skin, and droopy/tired eyes. Drugs can have major or minor impacts on one’s appearance. If an employee has more than one of these appearance alterations there may be something wrong.
- Mood swings or attitude changes:
Substance abusers typically experience changes in personality and mood swings. These often include increased irritability, loss of interest in responsibility and friends, paranoia, apathy, and depression. Substance abusers may also put themselves in isolation as much as possible to avoid being questioned about these behaviors.
- Exceptionally high accrual of health care cost:
According to The Promises Treatment Center, data collected in a study suggest that substance abusers accrue 3 times more on health care costs than the average employee. Although you can’t dig into an employee’s health records and problems without their permission, exceptionally high health care costs might indicate that something is wrong. You can usually put two and two together to determine if these costs are part of an ongoing health issue, or if they’re being hidden in secrecy.
Drug abuse in the workplace cost employers in the United States around $81 billion a year. Over 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 totaling more deaths than the entire Vietnam war. It is imperative that employers and the public work together to end this epidemic by exploring drug testing options. For more information about the signs of addiction visit www.drugabuse.gov or www.cdc.gov.