Drugs and Alcohol Quiz
What are the three main problems / issues caused by alcohol and drug abuse on the job?
- Fatalities and accidents
- Loss of production
WHY IS IT RIGHT
DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE
Drug and alcohol abuse lead to workplace accidents,
Despite the numerous safety protocols at the workplace, 40% of all industrial workplace fatalities are caused by substance abusers. And individual who is inebriated or hungover has decreased productivity and alertness. This means workplace accidents are more likely to happen. Workplace accidents caused by inebriation or a hangover is five times more likely to injure someone. Substance abusers are ten times more likely to miss work, negatively impacting themselves and others by jeopardizing their jobs, their health and safety as well as co-workers.
The rate of positive drug tests rose by double digits in five of 16 major U.S. workforce industry sectors from 2015 to 2017, according to a recent analysis done by researchers at Quest Diagnostics
Drinking and drugging among U.S. workers create costly medical, social, and other problems that affect both employees and employers.
EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE
Using drugs impairs decision-making abilities and physically impairs people. This is a deadly concoction when on the job. In fact, 10-20% of American workers who die at work have a positive result when tested for drugs or alcohol.
Substance abusers may:
- Have poor work performance.
- Frequently call out of or arrive late to the workplace.
- Frequently change workplaces.
- Struggle with productivity.
- File for workers’ compensation claims and benefits.
In addition to deaths and accidents, absenteeism and loss of production, other problems that alcohol and drug abuse can cause on the job include:
- Tardiness/sleeping on the job
- Hangover or withdrawal affecting job performance
- Poor decision making
- Loss of efficiency
- Lower morale of co-workers
- Increased likelihood of having trouble with co-workers/supervisors or tasks
- Preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentration
- Illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees
- Higher turnover
- Training of new employees
- Disciplinary procedures
COSTS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE
- Health insurance claims
- Loss of productivity
- Employee morale issues
Drug and Alcohol users:
- Are far less productive.
- Use three times as many sick days.
- Are more likely to injure themselves or someone else.
- Are five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim.
Factors Contributing to Employee Substance Abuse
Factors that can encourage or discourage workplace substance abuse include:
- Workplace culture and acceptance of drinking/drugging
- Workplace alienation
- Availability of alcohol and drugs
- Existence and enforcement of workplace substance abuse policies
The culture of the workplace can play a large role in whether drinking and drug use are accepted and encouraged or discouraged and inhibited. Part of this culture can depend on the gender mix of employees.
In predominantly female occupations research shows that both male and female employees are less likely to have substance abuse problems compared to employees of both genders in male-dominated occupations.
How the Effects of Alcoholism Differ in Men
Studies have found that male-dominated occupations create heavy drinking cultures in which employees drink to build solidarity and show conformity. Therefore, these occupations have higher rates of alcohol- and drug-related problems.
Any industry or organization can be affected by workplace alcoholism, but research shows it is prevalent in these industries: food service, construction, mining and drilling, excavation, installation, maintenance, and repair.
Research shows that the job itself can contribute to higher rates of employee substance abuse. Work that is boring, stressful or isolating can contribute to employees’ drinking. Employee substance abuse has been linked to low job autonomy, lack of job complexity, lack of control over work conditions and products, boredom, sexual harassment, verbal and physical aggression, and disrespectful behavior.
The availability and accessibility of alcohol can influence employee drinking.
More than two-thirds of the 984 workers surveyed at a large manufacturing plant said it was “easy” or “very easy” to bring alcohol into the workplace, to drink at workstations, and to drink during breaks.
In cultures where alcohol is prohibited, drinking on the job and drinking, in general, is decreased significantly.
The level of supervision on the job can affect drinking and drugging at work rates. A study of evening shift workers, when supervision was reduced, found that employees were more likely to drink at work than highly supervised shifts.
Casual Drinkers Are a Problem
Research shows it is the social drinkers, not the hard-core alcoholics or problem drinkers, who are responsible for most of the lost productivity, according to a Christian Science Monitor article, specifically tying the hangover issue to production in the workplace.
WHY IS EVERYTHING ELSE WRONG
WHY PREVENTION WORKS
When the issue of workplace substance abuse is addressed by establishing comprehensive programs, it is a “win-win” situation for both employers and employees.
A study of the economic impact of substance abuse treatment in Ohio found significant improvements in job-related performance:
- 91% decrease in absenteeism
- 88% decrease in problems with supervisors
- 93% decrease in mistakes in work
- 97% decrease in on-the-job injuries
Companies and employers, large and small, can adopt a workplace substance abuse policy that will reduce the loss of productivity and provide a safer work environment for all.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORKPLACE PREVENTION
The workplace provides several potent opportunities for implementing AOD abuse prevention strategies, including:
- The majority of adults are employed, making the workplace an ideal setting to reach a large population.
- Full-time employees spend a significant proportion of their time at work, increasing the possibility of exposure to preventive messages or programs offered through the workplace. The likelihood that evidence of problem drinking will become visible to those who might have a role in intervention also is increased.
- Work plays an important role in most people’s lives. Because many adults’ roles in the family and community are dependent on maintaining the income, status, and prestige that accompanies employment, the relationship between the employer and the employee contains a degree of “leverage.” The employer has the right to expect an adequate level of job performance. If alcohol abuse breaches the rules of the employer-employee agreement or is associated with substandard job performance, the employer may withdraw pay or privileges associated with the job, thus motivating the employee with alcohol problems to change his or her behavior.
THE “APPROACH” TO GET HELP
Employers and employees can collaborate to design policies which outline what is an acceptable code of behavior and what is not. By establishing or promoting programs such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), employers can help employees more directly or provide referrals to community services.
The policy can cover substance use issues, or it can use an overall approach such as impairment in the workplace. The main goal is that workplaces are encouraged to establish a procedure or policy so that help can be provided in a professional and consistent manner. It is important for supervisors and managers to have a resource or procedure that they can rely on if the need arises. Employees need to know that everyone will be treated the same way. These actions help to reduce the stigma associated with substance use. When stigma is reduced, it is hoped that people will seek help without fear, and will speak openly about substance use issues. Early treatment and support is encouraged.
Managers and supervisors should be educated in how to recognize and deal with substance use issues and employees should be offered educational programs. It is not the role of the supervisor or employer to diagnose a possible substance use or dependency problem. Their role is to identify if an employee is impaired, and to take the appropriate steps as per the organization’s policy.
SUBSTANCE USE POLICY
Recent concerns about the regulation and legalization of non-medical cannabis in have prompted employers and other stakeholders to consider how to address substance use through effective and appropriate workplace policies and practices.
- Addressing substance use issues through comprehensive, well-developed policies sends the message that substance use and its potential ramifications (e.g., injuries, lost productivity, absenteeism) are important concerns within an organization, while not having such a policy can imply that substance use is not a concern or is even tolerated, which can increase workplace risks.
The level of supervision on the job can affect drinking and drug misuse at work rates. A study of evening shift workers, when supervision was reduced, found that employees were more likely to drink at work than highly supervised shifts.
Drugged driving is on the rise – nearly matching drunk driving in the number of fatal crashes – according to a 2015 from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
The study revealed that 40 percent of drivers killed in crashed in 2013 tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The figure was nearly the same as the percentage of drivers killed in crashes the same year who tested positive for alcohol in their bloodstreams.
Researchers unearthed some revealing facts the majority of drugs which include prescription medication:
- Impaired driving related cognitive functions as reaction time, distance perception, motor skills.
- Drug use combined with alcohol increases the risk of a crash.
- An individual doesn’t have to be staggering around drunk or having hallucinations to be dangerously impaired. Even the drowsiness or slowed reaction time caused by common medications can result in deadly accidents, both on the job and on the road.
- Just because a drug is legal to use does not make it safe to use in the workplace. We’re talking about prescription and over-the-counter drugs. We all know that illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine are hazardous to use. We also know that alcohol is prohibited at work because it is intoxicating. But did you know that many other drugs that we take for granted can also affect your ability to do your job safely?
- Drugs such as cold remedies often carry a warning advising that you do not drive or operate machinery if you feel drowsy. Many of these mixtures contain antihistamines, which reduce some of the unpleasant effects of a cold, but can also make you sleepy. Cough syrups contain a variety of drugs which, if taken in enough quantity, can cause impairment of your judgment and reflexes. Painkillers work because they dull your senses—the same senses you need to stay alert while you are working. Tranquilizers can calm you down, but in the process they can make everything seem fuzzy.
Substance abuse costs employers bil0lions of dollars a year in accidents and injuries, lost productivity, and property and equipment damage. From a worker perspective, working with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts co-workers in danger and generally has a negative effect on their morale and job performance.
Addiction is the irresistible compulsion to use alcohol or drugs despite the negative consequences their use can cause. Substance abuse is the legal or illegal, recreational or addictive misuse of illegal drugs, over the counter or prescription drugs, or alcohol.
Abused substances always produce some form of intoxication that alters judgment, perception, attention, or physical control. This makes abusers dangerous in and out of the workplace. People who abuse drugs or alcohol are three and a half times more likely to be in a workplace accident compared to individuals who do not abuse drugs or alcohol. In a recent study, 47% of industrial injuries are directly related to alcohol abuse or alcoholism.