Signs That Addiction Affects an Employee’s Performance

Signs That Addiction is Affecting an Employee’s Performance

A construction worker with a liquor bottle in his hand sleeps on the job as ARCpoint Labs of Austin North describes the signs that say addiction may affect an employee's performance

According to research published by Psychology Today, more than three-quarters of drug users have a full-time or part-time job. Drug and alcohol abuse increases health care costs, safety risks, and productivity issues.

      • Knowing the signs of substance abuse issues can reduce these problems.
      • Employment safety experts recommend a workplace drug screening program.

Understanding the Red Flags of Employee Substance Use

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these are the signs that often indicate use of common substances as well as the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace.

Alcohol Use

SAMHSA reports that 14.5 million American adolescents and adults have an alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking and alcohol abuse increase the risk of dangerous choices such as driving under the influence. As a result, screening workers for alcohol use disorder is especially important if your business involves delivery services or otherwise relies on drivers.

Marijuana Use

The use of cannabis is widespread as many states have legalized recreational and medical marijuana. The SAMHSA report indicates that as of 2019, 17.5% of Americans report smoking, vaping, or otherwise ingesting THC, the most common psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

Unfortunately, the effects of marijuana can significantly decrease workplace productivity. These negative impairments include decreased judgment, critical thinking, and perception, which is especially dangerous for individuals in decision-making roles.

Signs of marijuana use include:

      • Presence of a pungent smell on the hair or clothes
      • Increased appetite
      • Slower reaction times
      • Clumsiness or impaired coordination
      • Red eyes

Cocaine Use

According to federal data, more than 5.5 million teenagers and adults in the U.S. have used cocaine in the past year. Cocaine causes mental and physical effects that damage workplace productivity and potentially increase employer medical costs, including mood swings, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, gastrointestinal issues, seizures, and heart attacks. If an employee has abused cocaine, you may notice:

      • Overly talkative behavior
      • Nose bleeds
      • Unexplained weight loss
      • Residue of white powder around the nose
      • Runny nose
      • Excitability
      • Mood swings
      • Unexplained financial problems (request for a paycheck advance, for example)

Methamphetamine Use

SAMHSA refers to the increased use of methamphetamine as a dangerous trend in substance abuse. In fact, approximately 1 million Americans are addicted to meth, and about double that number reported using the drug in the past 12 months. Individuals who abuse this substance experience paranoia, hallucinations, and mood swings, all of which can dramatically impair interpersonal relationships with clients, customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders.

Some of the signs of methamphetamine abuse include:

      • Noticeable tooth decay
      • Confusion
      • Mood swings
      • Paranoia
      • Skin lesions or sores
      • Unexplained weight loss
      • Scratching or picking at the skin

Heroin Use

According to SAMSHA, about 1.6 million Americans have an addiction to opiates, including heroin as well as prescription medications such as oxycodone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 128 daily opioid overdose fatalities in the United States. Injection drug use increases the risk of contracting and spreading hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, creating a public health concern at many workplaces.

Signs an employee is abusing heroin may include:

      • Decrease in hygiene habits
      • Sudden drowsiness (“nodding off”)
      • Scratching at the skin
      • Watery eyes
      • Runny nose
      • Small pupil size
      • Flushed skin
      • Frequent unexplained nausea or other illness caused by withdrawal

Drug and Alcohol Testing in Austin, TX

Contact ARCpoint Labs of Austin if you need assistance with an employee drug testing program at your location. Screening can help keep your workplace safe and offer potentially lifesaving help to workers who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Reach out to our team to schedule your consultation and improve the conditions at your job site.

Image Source: H_Ko / Shutterstock

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