Identifying Employee Substance Abuse

As a business owner or supervisor, you should have the ability to identify people subtly. At times you’ll find dealing with many different employee personalities can be chaotic. Even more so, being busy with so many daily tasks you may be missing the warning signs of substance abuse by one of your workers.

Let’s be positive and bring some clarity to this. If you suspect an employee of substance abuse, find out what led you to such a thoughts? On a close check, you may find issues such as absenteeism, risky behavior, unusual physical signs, etc. Below are ways to tell if your employee has a substance abuse problem.

i) Declining work performance.

Healthy employees, both bodily and mentally fit, are a boon to your business because of their performance at work. A healthy employee abides by the employee code of behavior set by the company. However, everything goes astray once your employee’s overall performance fades. You might be upset at such a drop in production and would be forced to take it with more caution. The employee who was reliable is now a late-comer, remains absent for many days or leaves earlier, takes long breaks for taking meals, likes staying alone, cannot concentrate on work, makes wrong judgments. All this leads to a drastic drop in production – a warning sign of drug and substance abuse.

ii) Increased and unreasonable absenteeism.

An employee stays away from the workplace in a day or during a shift, and you do not get a reasonable explanation for it. The employee fails to account for his character because his general temperament becomes unpredictable; may lie to the supervisors and reply awkwardly; finds fault with others including his/her spouse. Such unusual practice should lead you to suspicion of drug and substance abuse.

iii) Engaged in risky behavior.

Another sign is that the worker becomes highly annoying, disregards social habits in the amity of co-employees as well as at work; ignores safety measures; tends to be risky being reckless while at work and therefore endangering the life of all. He accuses co-workers and superiors of frustration or problems at the workplace.

iv) Keeping a distance other workers.

Substance abusing employee distance himself co-workers. Puts justifications in the case of failure on any count – be it work or home. This is because the recent changes might be recognized by others for which he feels embarrassed. The general personal behavior becomes awkward. It is a caution sign of substance abuse on the first sight as you find it entirely different from what you had seen earlier.

v) Lack of Personal Care.

Substance abusing employee suddenly starts quarreling, scolding and shouting at others. He neglects personal cleanliness, the dress code at a workplace. There is a drastic drop in body weight because of loss of appetite. Personal grooming is poor. He becomes tired of the effect of drug desists.

vi) Secretive Use of Substances and Drugs

When an employee secretly drinks alcohol, he/she may have developed a dependency on the substance. Individuals who don’t want their employers to know about their alcohol consumption may be afraid of being confronted or criticized. Usually, alcoholics deny their alcohol issue and will always have reasons and excuses to justify their actions.

vii) Consuming Substances First Thing in the Morning

An employee may be struggling with drug addiction, and the first thing he does when he wakes up is to take drugs. He may have reasons for this action such as to calm his nerves, to manage pain and alleviate shakiness.

viii) Frequent consumption of substances

Some inpatient drug and substance rehabilitation specialists say that if someone consumes drugs regularly, he/she will acquire a tolerance which results in the need to consume more drugs to feel the same effect. When not able to consume, the drug user may undergo withdrawal.

ix) Hiding Use of Alcohol

When people secretly drink alcohol, they may have developed a dependency on the substance. Employees who don’t want their employers to know about their drug consumption may be afraid of being confronted or criticized. Usually, substance users deny their issue and will always have reasons and excuses to justify their actions.

When you mark these symptom(s), you ought to be proactive. Ask your human resources managers and take the required measures immediately. We would recommend insisting on the suspected employee taking and required to pass a hair drug test. This is crucial as apart from affecting the performance of the individual employees; it is likely to bring out in its wake some legal, health, financial associations and a decrease in the profitability and repute of your company in the business world.

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