Do you have a workplace drug & alcohol policy in place? Have other questions about how to address alcohol & drug use in your workplace? We can help.
Why does it matter?
- Eighty percent of problem drinkers work and 15% of U.S. workers say they use alcohol at work or have been impaired on the job.
- 7.4% of full time workers age 18 to 49 have drinking problems. One in four workers (age 18 to 34) used drugs in the past year; one in three knows of drug sales in the workplace.
- Light and moderate drinkers cause 60% of alcohol related absenteeism, tardiness and poor work quality.
Alcohol use and impairment was more common among men than women, among younger employees, and more prevalent among evening and night shift workers.
Substance use in the workplace occurs
- just before coming to work
- on lunch hours or other breaks
- hung over from the night before
Tolerance. That’s A Good Thing, Right?
Supervisor and coworker tolerance of alcohol and drug use, misuse, and abuse can be an underground attitude that taints the health of your workplace. Too often, business owners and human resource professionals tolerate a problem as a way of coping with situations that for one reason or another, no one wants to address. Sometimes it just seems easier to replace an employee, than to work with them for healthy change. Or, perhaps it may seem simpler to ignore the problem, hoping it will go away.
- Healthcare costs for employees with alcohol problems are more than twice as high as for those who do not.
- Primary costs are not for treatment but for . . . absenteeism, productivity, disability claims, workplace injuries, and worker’s compensation.
- Fifty percent of businesses lack the expertise to detect an addiction problem in the workplace, 25% would be less likely to hire someone who is recovering from an addiction.
“The disconnect in all of this is the fact that too many HR directors don’t know how to recognize the problem and access treatment,” said William Moyers, vice-president for external affairs at Hazelden, a Minneapolis-based treatment center.
Alcohol Screening Benefits Employees and Saves $
Research has found that employers can save $2 for every dollar they spend on screening employees for alcohol problems and referring them to treatment.
Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment is also valuable in the workplace. A 2010 study indicated that when absenteeism and presenting to work when impaired were considered, the net value of SBIRT adoption in the workplace was almost $800 per employee. (Quanbeck A. 2010).
Privacy concerns can prevent people from seeking help with a possible alcohol problem, particularly in the workplace. But online alcohol screening programs can ease these privacy worries, opening the door to intervention and treatment and helping reduce healthcare costs for employers.