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Addressing Employee Substance Use Disorder

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Retaining valued personnel is a key factor in the success of any business. When you have an employee who is battling a substance use disorder there are often several ways that it will impact your workplace – even if they are sober while they are on the job.

Tardiness and a loss of efficiency due to a lack sleep or from withdrawal or hang overs, an increased likelihood of accidents and inattention, and even increased stress levels from problems they may be having at home are can affect the company and other employees.

Employers Can Help

Addressing employee substance use, especially when it’s a suspected substance use disorder, is important but can be complicated due to its sensitive nature. Failure to address employee substance use disorder can lead to an erosion of your company culture and trust between staff members. It can high turnover rates by the employee(s) afflicted with substance use disorder as well as co-workers affected by the actions of such employee. Disciplinary procedures and theft are other common adverse side effects that can shake the foundations of a business. Being proactive with a plan of action before an incident occurs is crucial to keep the business culture vibrant, morale elevated and productivity high. Being proactive also lets your team member know that your acting out of their best interests, and not out of punitive measures for any wrongdoings or transgressions on their part.   

Establishing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

By establishing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), you can offer your employees support and resources that are designed to address a myriad of issues. At the core of this type of program is the implementation of a workplace policy that addresses drug and alcohol use during work hours. Providing comprehensive coverage that includes access to treatment for substance abuse -- as well as the mental health issues that often accompany it -- and educating employees about the hazards of drug and alcohol use while reducing the stigma associated with it are also key in supporting employees during their struggles. 

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EAP Benefits for Employers 

Employers who enact an EAP have an increase in productivity and morale among their employees. There is also a decrease in downtime, employee turnover, absenteeism, theft and accidents. Over the long term, employers report that their employees have better health which correlates to a reduction in the use of sick leave and other medical benefits. 

Employee Health is Company Health

When you work with your employees to help them stay healthy, your company will benefit as a result. Happy, healthy employees are more productive, more reliable and will keep your company culture thriving.

If you have an employee who you know is struggling with substance use disorder, reach out for help. We can help you find the right way to help them.