The odds of drug misuse, which is defined as the use of illegal drugs and the misuse of prescribed drugs and otherwise legal substances, creeping its way into your business are quite considerable. After all, numerous studies have shown that of all the adults classified as drug users, more than half are actually employed. If you’re an employer, this is a primary concern that should be addressed, because the effects of drug misuse at work can be downright disastrous for everyone.
Workplace health and safety is compromised
Drug misuse causes impairment on the part of the user, and impairment leads to workplace accidents that result in injuries and deaths. This is particularly true for workers who operate heavy machinery, drive vehicles, and do other safety-sensitive tasks. Drug misuse can also lead to conflicts within the office, as many drugs popular among workers can trigger irritability and aggressive behaviour.
Work performance is negatively impacted
As an employer, you need your workers to be at their best at all times. Drug misuse, however, can adversely affect one’s performance at work. When workers use drugs, they are more likely to have difficulty focusing on their work. Because drugs always take a toll on the health of an employee, you may also expect absenteeism to increase. Carelessness and the inability to make sound decisions or judgments are also common among people who use drugs. Add to that the tendency to take longer breaks and inexplicably disappear from the workplace and it’s a certainty that their productivity is going to fall sharply, which is not in anybody’s best interest.
Costs to employers are staggering
The figures vary from country to country, but the results are basically the same: Drug misuse cost employers billions upon billions of dollars annually.
For one, employers lose money due to lost productivity among substance abusers in the workforce. Employers also take a beating when it comes to Workers Compensation and disability claims, as those who misuse drugs tend to file more Workers Compensation claims than those who are not drug users. Replacing workers who have been terminated due to their drug use in the workplace is a pricey proposition as well. Some say that on average, replacing a salaried worker costs an employer at least $7,000 dollars.
When accidents or deaths occur because of impairment, employers often find themselves at the receiving of a lawsuit, which is unfailingly costly and exhausting at the same time.
Drug misuse ruins your business’ reputation
Drug misuse—even by just one employee—can tarnish your organisation’s reputation. If that worker’s drug misuse leads to any of the work-related disasters mentioned earlier, your company is going to look bad in the eyes of clients and employees as well. If you don’t handle the drug situation in your workplace well, people would think that you have little concern for the safety of employees and clients alike, and your business’ reputation could be ruined that way.
These effects of drug misuse at work underscores the importance of drug safety policy development. This policy must clearly state what constitutes a violation of the policy and the actions the company would take in case of violations. It’s also important that the workforce be educated on this policy, so that everyone would be completely aware of the dangers of drugs and the consequences of using them in the workplace.