Substance abuse in the workplace is a subject neglected by many employers; however, not many are aware of the high risks it poses to an organisation’s reputation and prosperity . Substance abuse causes lowered productivity, increased risk of injury and theft, and decreased employee satisfaction. Alcohol and drug abuse can increase the cost of healthcare for employers by 30%, so it is also expensive for enterprises. The effects of drug usage vary depending on the kind of substance used. Interfering with the transmission of signals throughout the body, drugs impact the neurotransmitters in the brain, which cause changes in behaviour and cognition. 

Numerous medicines are addictive, making it more challenging for workers to abstain or discontinue taking them simply. Many employers use the workplace drug test as a mandatory screening tool to ensure that employees are not abusing drugs during their employment.

 How Do Drugs Impact The Brain?

Drugs have a profound influence on the human brain, where the roots of addiction develop. The effects of various drugs on the brain are directly linked to their chemical makeup. Many drugs are made up of similar chemicals that the brain contains. These chemicals work together to affect the brain’s reward circuit. By flooding the brain with chemicals, they alter its signals. Drugs can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including rapid heartbeat, nausea, hallucinations, and all sorts of sensations. The effects of drug abuse can be so powerful that they can even cause a person to develop behaviours that are unrecognisable to their former self.

The Relationship Between Alcohol and Work Performance 

Excessive alcohol consumption can have negative impacts on a person’s physical health and mental health as well. Moreover, it can lead to poor performance and absenteeism at work. Despite these detrimental effects, alcohol consumption remains a problem in many workplaces, causing a big economic loss to organisations. Apart from that, alcohol can even affect one’s ability to interact with colleagues, clients, and the general public. Also, organisations that do have alcohol addicts in their teams complain of reduced workplace productivity due to short-term absences and a decrease in the quality and quantity of work due to poor decision-making, operational disturbance, and coworkers covering for alcohol-impaired personnel.

Why Employers Must Have Substance Abuse Policies

It is vital to remember that drug abuse in the workplace impacts not just the addict but also his colleagues and the entire firm. Substance abuse may harm workplace morale and cause decreased motivation as well. It may also impair the company’s financial well-being and harm its reputation and public image. Moreover, a high percentage of drug users support their addiction by stealing from their workplace, so that’s definitely something employers should keep an eye on.

Warning signs that might indicate addiction problems and the need for a drug test:

  • Increased incidences of tardiness or absence from work
  • Decrease in productivity or job quality
  • Increase in the number of office and non-office accidents
  • Increased medical claims
  • Mood swings and extreme responses
  • Ineffective decision-making
  • Financial challenges
  • Avoidance of colleagues and managers
  • Worsening physical appearance

 As an employer, it is crucial to educate your employees on addiction, what they can do and how to ask for help. It is not only their professional that gets affected but their personal life, as alcoholism is also detrimental to family life and the quality of one’s relationships.