Drug abuse in the workplace is a growing problem for many employers. Studies conducted about the issue may vary in their results, but they are one in saying that most illicit drug users are actually employed. With so many employed drug users, consequences abound for both employers and employees. Drugs and the workplace certainly don’t match, and here are some of the reasons why.
Drugs pose a danger to health and safety in the workplace
No matter what a worker’s drug of choice is, that person will always be impaired by that substance, and impairment while at work can lead to a number of disastrous consequences for everyone in the workplace. Accidents are more likely to happen when a worker is high on drugs while on duty, particularly if that worker is tasked to operate machinery or drive a vehicle. These accidents cause injury and deaths.
Even if a drug-impaired worker does not operate machinery, he or she could still cause a lot of trouble in the workplace. Cocaine users, for example, tend to display aggressive behaviour and trigger conflicts within the office. The same goes for those who drink alcohol while on the job.
Drugs in the workplace is costly
Employers lose billions of dollars annually. Because of drug abuse, employers pay more in health care workers’ compensation costs when they suffer an injury while at work. There are also legal liabilities that such accidents will entail. Things become even more costly if an employee dismissed for drug use sues the employer; and the litigation, which will always be costly and tedious, could drag on for a long time.
Drugs affect job performance
As an employer, you will always want the best from your workers. Drug abuse, however, can get in the way of that. Workers who use or abuse drugs regularly are more likely to engage in absenteeism. The quality of their work also takes a dip, as they tend to have poor concentration and are prone to making mistakes or errors in judgment. Unexplained disappearances from the workplace are also common among drug users. All these lead to low productivity, which has economic effects on the profitability of the business, among other things.
Drug abuse in the workplace breeds other illegal activities
Drug users have to get their drugs somewhere, and it’s not a far-fetched idea that they can get their drugs from someone they are working with. These in-company drug dealers may be drug abusers themselves, and that spells a lot of trouble for the business. Drug users in the workplace may be a personnel concern, but drug dealers are already a police matter. So if you suspect you have an employee who sells drugs in the office, notify the police immediately.
The impact of drug abuse in the workplace as enumerated above should be reason enough for employers to actually have a workplace drug policy. If you are an employer and you have yet to develop drug and alcohol testing policies, waste no more time establish one. It’s in the best interest of everyone.