Workplace Drug Abuse

For most employers, the ideal workplace would be staffed entirely with energetic, capable, and stone-cold sober employees. Unfortunately, one must never rule out the possibility that drug abuse will make its way into the workplace. Your employees or coworkers may already use drugs without your knowledge!

Many people are able to function at work even amidst an active drug addiction. These functional addicts blend in with other members of the workforce and are often, in fact, quite well-liked. Functional addicts usually pose little threat because they use drugs to avoid withdrawal rather than to get impaired.

However, many other drug users are not nearly as capable of controlling their habits and may be prone to rampant drug abuse and unpredictable behavior. These people need to seek help at a San Diego drug detox. It’s a good idea to prepare for the reality of drug abuse in the workplace.

Preparing a Plan for Potential Drug Abuse

You will need to decide on your stance regarding drug use and abuse in the workplace.

Laws regarding substance use and work vary from state to state and country to country. Many places don’t explicitly state that it’s illegal to work under the influence of any drugs. Instead, both employers and employees are responsible for not being impaired at work.

Thus, you will likely want to set up your own rules. Some employers have an iron-fisted policy where any employee caught under the influence of any substance will be immediately terminated. Some may require employees to immediately attend a San Diego drug detox or be fired.

Other employers are more forgiving, understanding that some people use certain substances to self-medicate and that as long as they remain functional and unimpaired, posing no threat to themselves or anyone else, they may be capable of maintaining their job. Examples of this might include somebody on methadone maintenance, a program designed to help opioid addicts transition from illegal street drugs to more stable and longer-lasting opioids, or employees taking ADHD medications, most of which are pharmaceutical replicas of drugs available on the street.

You must also clarify the criteria by which you determine the sobriety of your employees.

  • Will you perform regular drug testing? This is an additional expense that you may have to cover. Not all employers have mandatory drug tests.
  • Relying on assumption and intuition is not always wise; on the one hand, it may lead to success, or it may lead to an uncomfortable situation and wrongful accusations.
  • Criminal record checks may provide some information regarding your employees’ drug history.

For many employers, termination is the only solution for employees found under the influence of any substance. You are not always responsible for the problems of others, especially not those who developed addictions prior to working for you.

However, some employers recognize that they’re in a position to potentially encourage positive changes. Perhaps they will keep the employee on the schedule under the condition that they reduce or regulate their drug use, or seek San Diego drug detox. Perhaps they will mandate rehab, but provide time off for their employee to do so.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts on Drug Abuse At Work

As a business owner, it is ultimately your choice to decide whether or not to terminate an employee due to their behavior and drug use. These decisions can often be difficult. If their behavior is a detriment to the workplace, it may be necessary, but sometimes functional addicts can remain great workers.

If you would like to learn more about addiction and the behaviors that it can cause or would like to arrange a treatment session for an employee, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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