Addiction in the Workplace: Helping Leaders Create a Path to Recovery

This may come as a surprise to some, but addiction in the workplace exists.

Most people with drug or alcohol use disorders have jobs. Approximately 70 percent of all adults with an alcohol or drug use disorder are employed, according to data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

This same data also found that these individuals – meaning, those who have a current substance use disorder – account for nearly nine percent (approximately 13.6 million workers) of the entire workforce. It makes sense, then, to invest resources in helping these individuals develop a path toward recovery.

Investing in Employee Assistance Programs is Worthwhile

office teamworkThe benefits are significant. Workplace addiction results in a number of negative outcomes, such as increased health care claims, absenteeism, and a higher turnover rate. In addition to the detriment of an employee’s quality of life, it can also negatively impact a company’s overall productivity and morale.

Therefore, employers should work to create a more inclusive work environment – one that aids those struggling with a substance use disorder. Below are a few ways that companies can provide that support, courtesy of Kelsey Moreira, sober founder and CEO of Doughp.

Create a Recovery-Friendly Workplace

Addiction carries a social stigma. So it’s important to create a workplace culture where employees feel comfortable sharing their struggles, without judgment. With team members able to address addiction openly, it creates a culture of inclusion. This, in turn, encourages others on the team who might be struggling with substance abuse to come forward and seek treatment.

A great way to address a team member’s drug and addiction issues may be an Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). These are effective resources for getting individuals struggling with addiction into active recovery.

These programs can include counseling sessions, confidential evaluations, and referrals for treatment options related to substance abuse.

Educate Team Members on Addiction in the Workplace

By offering education on substance abuse, management opens a dialogue with employees. You can also address the stigma and shame tied to addiction. After all, those who know more about the disease may be less inclined to judge.

Additionally, learn the signs and symptoms of substance misuse. This can help team members intervene when an individual needs help and guide them to available resources and treatment options.

Celebrate Recovery and Sobriety

climbing the corporate ladderCompanies often celebrate events, like birthdays and new babies, so why not sobriety milestones? Celebrating these successes – no matter what size – is important for several reasons.

First, events can boost confidence and motivate people to continue their fight against addiction. Additionally, acknowledging these milestones will further promote inclusion and acceptance in the company’s culture.

Have Support and Resources Available

In addition to creating an inclusive culture, companies should also ensure they have addiction treatment resources and information on-hand if a team member does ask for support.

SAMHSA offers a 24/7, free, confidential helpline. This is available to anyone who is struggling with mental and/or substance use disorders.

Ultimately, addiction affects everyone in the workplace. Therefore, by developing a path to recovery, rather than automatic job termination, team members can enjoy a win-win outcome.

Call 800-743-5860 (Info iconWho Answers?) today to speak with a specialist who can talk with you about treatment options.