What You Need to Know About Substance Abuse in the Workplace


substance abuse in the workplaceSubstance abuse is a real problem, especially in Canada. A study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that Canadians drink more than 50% above the global average. And while most people associate alcoholism and drug use with troubled homes, life on the streets, and criminal activity, the fact is that most users are regular people going about their normal routines — including showing up for work, at least most of the time.

As a co-worker or a boss, it is important to know the warning signs and the facts, so that if such a situation does arise, you will be fully prepared to take the correct actions and help that person deal with drug or alcohol abuse. Check out these substance abuse in the workplace statistics:

It’s Really Dangerous
Substance abuse in the workplace isn’t just about performing poorly or being tardy. It could be life threatening — those workers with alcohol problems were 2.7 times more likely to have injury-related absences, and in breathalyzer tests conducted in emergency rooms, alcohol was detected in 16% of patients.

It’s More Common Than You’d Think
Big surveys have shown that almost a quarter (24%) of workers have reported drinking during the workday at least once in the past year. Most of the time, having a drink or two at lunch or in celebration of some kind is by no means a horrible thing in and of itself, but habitual drinking during work can lead to tardiness, inefficiency, poor relations with coworkers, and most importantly, the solidification of an addiction.

Work May Have An Impact on Drug Use
Substance abuse in the workplace statistics can go both ways — it has been found that workers who had three or more jobs in the last five years were twice as likely to be current or past drug users than those who had had fewer jobs. Career dissatisfaction and adjustment issues may have an effect on worker substance abuse.

As a whole, substance abuse has cost the Canadian health care system $8 million, and 47,000 deaths are linked to it annually. By being aware of its prevalence in the workplace, peers and supervisors can take the correct steps to get their co-workers into private rehab facilities for drug or alcohol detox.

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