Drug addiction is a menace and it still continues to wreak havoc on all levels and sectors of society. The professional and business sectors are not immune to the destructive influence of drug addiction or abuse. 

The worsening of drug abuse in the workplace is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why many employers today include comprehensive drug testing services as a part of their hiring process. 

As an employer, it is only rational for you to forbid your workers from using prohibited drugs. But since it is difficult to monitor each one of them especially when they are off duty, no employer can really get an assurance that all of their employees are drug free and this has serious implications.

According to a report from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), over 70% of people involved in the use of prohibited drugs in the U.S. are employed. Moreover, companies lose $81 billion per year due to drug abuse and addiction. The business sector which employs the majority of workers is bearing the direct consequences of this menace which include absenteeism, healthcare costs, and lost productivity.

What should you do knowing that potentially some of your employees are using prohibited drugs? How would you deal with that suspicion without making false accusations or violating your workers’ rights and privacy?

Despite the knowledge that it is harmful to their health and is illegal, many employees continue to use illegal drugs. In addition to their bad habit, they’ve learned to master the art of covering their tracks. This makes them difficult to spot.

As an employer, it is crucial for you to know the signs of drug-dependent employees because they can have a damaging effect on your business including lost opportunities and profits. This justifies the need for a drug testing service provider to perform random drug testing in the workplace. While it can serve as an ultimate solution, being on the lookout for typical signs and red flags would be helpful.

Typical Indicators of Drug Abuse

As stated earlier, most drug abusers keep their addiction a secret for obvious reasons and they’re good at hiding it. Despite their effort to deny and cover their problem, however, signs typically still manifest. If you notice a worker displaying two or more of the characteristics or behaviors listed below, you may wish to observe them more carefully. If they continue to manifest the signs, you might recommend them for workplace drug testing. These are some common signs of drug abuse:

  • Hyperactivity, sudden weight loss, rapidly deteriorating dental health
  • Habitual tardiness, absenteeism
  • Lack of concern for grooming and personal appearance, unsteady posture
  • Paranoia
  • Overreaction to criticisms, comments or suggestions
  • Argumentative or uncooperative
  • Social withdrawal
  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils 
  • Mood swings

Possible Effects of Drug Abuse in the Workplace 

An employee who is addicted to illicit drugs can be a major risk factor to your organization. A drug abuser has a much higher potential to cause damage to themselves and your business. According to the statistics on drug abuse in the workplace, employees that are abusing drugs are:

  • Five times more likely to claim for workers’ compensation benefits 
  • Involved in 40% of fatalities in workplace incidents
  • Costing their company three times more than the average employee in healthcare cost. This is an unnecessary burden for any employer
  • Approximately 30% less productive than the average worker
  • Five times more likely to cause workplace accidents

What You Can Do As An Employer

If you notice these signs in your employees, you may invoke your right to recommend drug testing for “reasonable suspicion”. Refer to your drug testing policy for appropriate steps, but you need to talk to the employee in question to discuss his/her performance as well as the decision that you are recommending him/her to submit to a drug testing service.

It goes without saying that every meeting you have with that employee as well as any and all instances that trigger suspicion should be well documented. This will enable you to point to specific instances when the employee displays suspicious behavior. You can use these records to discuss issues with that employee in subsequent meetings.

As an employer, it is your right, obligation, and authority to keep your workplace drug free and let it stay that way. Make it possible with us. We are a trusted provider of comprehensive drug testing services.  

Call us at (321) 725-0009.

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