Drugs Do Not Belong in the Workplace
Drug addiction is an issue no employer wants in their workplace. At ARCpoint Labs of San Rafael, we specialize in providing drug tests for DOT-regulated business. We understand how important it is to adhere to federal rules and regulations. Our staff will help ensure you comply with various drug and alcohol testing requirements. We will discuss which requirements apply to your business and provide the specific drug and alcohol testing solutions you need.
Even with testing, it is possible for drug abuse to transpire – wreaking havoc on your business and overall morale. Unfortunately, the destructive effects of drug addiction or drug abuse can occur in any business sector. That’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry by including comprehensive and recurring drug testing services – especially if you notice potential drug abuse.
As an employer, it is only sensible to want to avoid relying on workers who abuse prohibited drugs. Unfortunately, it is impossible and illegal to monitor employees when off duty. Therefore, it is impossible to help every employee remain clean and drug-free. Today, we’ll discuss some visible clues that might tip you off about potential drug addiction and how to respond to such circumstances professionally and respectfully.
Drug Abuse Is a National Epidemic
A common misconception is that most individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) are unemployed. Believe it or not, the opposite is true. In fact, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that 70 percent of the approximately 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed. According to the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance (NDWA), drug usage is connected to 40% of industrial fatalities in the U.S. and costs employers $81 billion annually.
The most common illicit drugs abused by professionals on the job are marijuana and cocaine. Alcoholism and binge drinking are also significant problems. A survey conducted by the National Survey of Work Stress and Health found that 13.8% of workers reported drinking before or during work. A recent SAMHSA study estimates up to 9% of full-time American workers partake in heavy drinking at least once a month. This data set also found workers in construction and mining had the highest rates of heavy drinking.
How Drug & Alcohol Abuse Harms Employers
The numbers are staggering, and the business sector bears significant consequences from alcoholism and drug abuse.
Some of the most common negative effects include:
- Low morale
- Healthcare costs
- Decreased productivity
- Increased workplace danger
- Toxic environments
- High turnover rates
At the same time, many drug abusers are skilled at making excuses for poor performance, unusual behavior, and consistent tardiness/sick days. Drug users are notoriously deft at covering their tracks – making the illness difficult to spot and diagnose.
As an employer, it is pivotal to be mindful of potential drug abuse scenarios without jumping to accusations or conclusions. Drug abuse in your workplace can severely damage your business’s potential profit gains and overall success. Keeping a proactive lookout for the potential red flags of drug abuse is wise and helpful.
Common Clues of Drug Abuse
Despite drug abusers’ ability to hide or deny substance abuse problems, signs of an underlying issue typically emerge over time.
It is prudent to be concerned if you notice a worker displaying any of the following characteristics or behaviors:
- Hyperactivity, jitteriness, and sudden weight loss
- Deteriorating dental health
- Social distancing and withdrawal
- Poor grooming and posture
- Paranoia, overreactions, or extreme mood swings
- Argumentative or uncooperative behavior
- Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
These signs do not necessarily indicate or verify an occurrence of drug use. Each trait can result from countless factors, including stress, depression, fatigue, or mental health issues. Nevertheless, such signs should warrant compassion and concern and give credence to issuing a drug test.
How An Employer Can Respond to Drug Abuse Suspicions
The most difficult question remains: what should an employer do if they suspect an employee is abusing prohibited drugs? After all, it is a tricky situation. You’ll want to avoid making accusations or violating your workers’ rights and privacy. Nevertheless, employers have the right to invoke mandatory drug testing for “reasonable suspicion.” Providing a clear and well-delineated drug testing policy will be very helpful in such circumstances – guiding you through the appropriate steps and providing contractual liability.
It is never comforting to confront an employee about declining performance, odd behavior, or other potential drug abuse insinuation. We recommend leading with empathy, diplomacy, and tact. We also suggest documenting concrete instances that triggered your suspicions for requiring an unexpected drug test. You also can use the interaction as an opportunity to broach a tough conversation about workplace expectations if the declining performance or behavioral flare-ups are byproducts of extraneous issues.
Whatever the case, employers have the authority and obligation to do everything to keep the workplace drug-free. If you suspect an issue, don’t hesitate to call. We are proud to be your local solution for accurate, reliable, and fast drug testing services.
Contact us online or call (415) 475-4620 to schedule a free design consultation today!