MADISON — Addiction and substance abuse are problems that are not just regulated to the unemployed. According to statistics, more often than not, the addicted person is employed and is costing his or her employer large amounts of money.
How does substance abuse affect the workplace?
“A company can expect to experience higher absenteeism and more job-related accidents because of employees’ drug use,” says Brian Mosley, MA, LPC, Substance Abuse Professional. “Business owners in the U.S. lose an estimated $100 billion per year because of substance abuse as reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.”
Today, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Riverview Country Club in Madison, Mosley will be presenting a training session on the topic: “Reasonable Suspicion, Drug Abuse in the Workplace.”
“This training will teach supervisors and business owners to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse, what you can do to protect your business, and tips on creating policies that will help you manage this growing problem,” he said. “The training will satisfy the USDOT and mining legislation requirement that all supervisors who oversee employees in ‘safety sensitive’ positions obtain two hours of reasonable suspicion training every year.”
Employees who use drugs are only two-thirds as productive as nonusers, according to recent statistics.
“Substance abuse contributes to increased thefts, damaged equipment, and other unnecessary costs in the workplace,” Mosley added.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, one in five workers report that they have had to work harder, redo work, cover for a co-worker, have been put in danger or injured as a result of a fellow employee’s substance abuse.
Small business owners are especially vulnerable because they often do not require new employees to submit to drug testing prior to employment; however, they also have smaller financial reserves to expend if an employee causes a job-related accident or injury while impaired.
Nearly 75 percent of all adult illicit drug users are employed, as are most binge and heavy alcohol users. Studies show that when compared with non-substance abusers, substances-abusing employees are most likely to:
Change jobs frequently
Be late or absent from work
Be less productive employees
Be involved in a workplace accident
File a workers’ compensation claim.
“Each year, substance abuse costs the United States billions of dollars in expenditures,” said Mosley. “Some business and occupations are required under state and or federal law to drug test their employees, offer substance abuse treatment, and train their supervisors in detecting substance abuse among employees.”
Mosley said in his private practice he can easily say that 95 percent of the substance abusers that he treats are employed full-time.
“On several occasions I have had patients tell me that their first drug experience was in the workplace,” he explained. “Business owners and supervisors tell me they feel powerless when placed in the situation where their employees may be abusing drugs. Many employers feel that they cannot fill position ns because they cannot find prospective employees who are drug free.”
Mosley said they also fear investing money and time into training a new employee for fear of losing the employee to substance abuse.
“Implementing a drug-free workplace policy and educating supervisors with reasonable suspicion training can save organizations large amounts of money and actually alleviate these problems,” he said.
Employers who have implemented drug-free workplace programs report positive experiences.
“They report improvements in morale and productivity, and decreases in absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover, and theft,” according to Mosley. “Organizations with longstanding programs report better health status among employees and their family members, as well as decreased use of medical benefits by these same groups. Some organizations with drug-free workplace programs qualify for incentives, such as decreased costs for workers’ compensation and health and accident insurance.”
For information on the training seminar, call 304-369-3497.