When it comes to addiction in the workplace, there are many fine lines to be crossed. However, it should be noted that addiction is considered a disease and treatment is available. This is why it’s so imperative that treatment be offered to those who are willing to take advantage of it. If they aren’t willing, then some type of reprimand, or possibly even termination, should be enforced.
There’s a common belief that substance abusers don’t have jobs. And while addiction most definitely influences a person’s ability to maintain employment, studies have shown that about 60 percent of adults who abuse drugs are in fact in the workforce. From drug-related workplace injuries to decreases in productivity, the losses are enormous to the economy.
It can be difficult to fight drugs and alcohol in the workplace, especially being that alcohol is legal, and for many workplaces, the use of alcohol is ingrained into their cultures. Changes in legislation have also brought forward issues relating to marijuana in the workplace. With states like Washington DC and Colorado legalizing marijuana for recreational use, many employers are burdened with redeveloping their alcohol and drug policies.
No matter the workplace policies that employers enforce, there’s one thing that always remains the same — when an employee becomes dependent or addicted to one or more substances, the following consequences are inevitable:
- Decrease in productivity
- Increase in workers’ compensation and disability claims
- Higher health care expenses
- Increase in absenteeism
If you ever believe that a worker is under the influence while performing work-related duties, you should speak with the employee and possibly cite some type of warning. If another incident was to occur, it is best to have the worker complete treatment through a drug rehab center, which will first start with going through a detox program. Not only does this provide an ethical solution, but it also directs the employee toward the help they need to live a life that doesn’t involve drug and alcohol abuse.
Also as the employer, you should keep in mind the many factors that may contribute to higher levels of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, which are:
- Repetitive duties
- High stress
- Long work hours
- Irregular hours
- Lob job satisfaction
- No supervision
- Easy access to substances from coworkers
You have quite a bit of control over the prevalence of the above factors, especially for employees who don’t telecommute. Because of this, you should create an alcohol and drug abuse policy that adequately addresses each factor.
Understanding the Importance of Detox
When you have an employee who is in need of treatment services, you should first send the employee through an assessment; this assessment should be performed by a qualified substance abuse specialist who can determine the exact services that are needed. For example, if you have an employee who shows up to work drunk, this person will likely require alcohol rehab treatment. Also, if the employee happens to suffer from one or more mental health conditions in addition to substance abuse, then dual diagnosis services will be needed. In determining the services that are needed, it then becomes possible to create a treatment plan that is both effective and efficient.
A substance abuse counselor will also direct the employee to a detox program. This program is vital to the overall treatment and recovery process as it allows the person time to detox the body off of drugs/alcohol before the actual treatment program starts. In doing this, both the mind and body are likely to be much more receptive to the treatment. A detox program will last anywhere from two to 21 days. Opiates, benzos and alcohol tend to have the most severe withdrawal and detox symptoms, however, this isn’t always the case.
Depending on the drugs that were being abused, the employee may be recommended for inpatient detox and rehab. This type of treatment tends to be very effective because it provides both medical and physical monitoring of the patient to ensure they don’t relapse. The longer the patient can stay clean, the more likely they are to stay clean after treatment has ended, which is paramount to recovery success as well as the well-being of your company.
Detox programs often incorporate a variety of activities. It’s not the same as detoxing at a hospital where the patient simply lays in bed all day. From educational courses on addiction to group support programs, detox goes beyond treating the body; it treats the mind, as well. With luxury-appointed rooms available and an amazing location in Florida, detox becomes the much-needed getaway substance abusers have been longing for. They can enjoy a holistic approach that only includes the use of detox medications when they become medically necessary.
If you believe addiction is affecting your company’s potential, it’s important to send the applicable employees to treatment, and it starts with going through detox. Their treatment will never been nearly as effective as it can be if they don’t first let their bodies and minds rid themselves of the toxins they’ve been consuming. The toxins themselves will chemically alter the mind so much that it doesn’t allow them to effectively process the information they are given during treatment. Just the same as treatment is important to managing the disease of addiction, detox is just as valuable.
With the above mentioned in mind, your company’s alcohol and drug policies should always fully outline a detox program in addition to treatment options. By providing your employees with the resources they need, they can receive the education it takes to live a life without drugs and alcohol. And more importantly to your company, they can boost your productivity instead of holding it back.
Substance abuse specialists have long agreed that detox followed by no form of rehab is not treatment. In order for detox to be of any value, it needs to be combined with both treatment and aftercare.