It’s nothing new for some people to misuse substances such as alcohol or illicit drugs or abuse prescription drugs. Nonetheless, there has been an increasing acceptance that substance abuse and substance use can affect the workplace and vice versa. There are many aspects of the workplace that require alertness, accuracy, and quick reactions.
Impaired performance of these skills can lead to errors and hinder efficiency and accuracy.
There are several ways problematic substance use can impact the workplace:
- Any impairment of judgment, alertness, perception, motor coordination, or emotional state that also affects someone’s capability to work safely or make safety-sensitive decisions
- Addiction and its after-effects (hangovers, withdrawals) affect job performance.
- Reduced productivity due to absences, illness, or other reasons
- While at work, excessive interest in obtaining and using substances hinders concentration and attention.
- Engaging in illegal activities at work, such as selling illicit drugs,
- Substance-related psychological or stress-related effects on another person are caused by a family member, friend, or coworker.
In addition to often being classified as an addiction or dependency, substance use can be recreational, frequent, or problematic. As a result, people’s lives and their work are affected differently.
NCADI statistics indicate that alcohol and drug users:
- Have a poorer level of productivity.
- Increase sick days by three times.
- Possess a greater likelihood of injuring themselves or another person.
- The possibility of filing a worker’s compensation claim is five times higher.
Among heavy drinkers and drug users, nine percent missed work due to a hangover, ten percent went to work drunk or high in the past year, and eleven percent missed work recently due to heavy drinking or drug use.
Substance use screening in the workplace is important due to these costly consequences.