Helping someone with alcohol and drug addiction at workplace

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Helping someone with alcohol and drug addiction at workplace

Helping someone with alcohol and drug addiction at workplace

Mary was a new intern at a financial advisory company,  who was young, smart, confident and a workaholic to the core. However, she was hard-pressed for the time even during weekends, as she was always loaded with work. Every day, she had to do overtime to wind up her assignments and meet the pressing deadlines. This caused her a considerable amount of stress which she alleviated by drinking vodka mixed with coke in her cubicle in the evening when the office was mostly empty. Additionally, she would also take codeine tablets to assuage her backache arising from long sitting hours. Mary’s case is similar those of many others who abuse alcohol at workplace, a practice that often goes undetected.  

According to the results of the survey, “How the Prescription Drug Crisis is Impacting American Employers,” 71 percent of the employers believe that prescription drug abuse is a major problem at the workplace but only 19 percent are “extremely prepared” to deal with the problem. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is responsible for wastage of man hours, absenteeism and poor quality and productivity of an individual, as well as the organization.

It’s not that easy to spot an employee who might be abusing a substance during office hours. Moreover, not all companies have mandated drug or alcohol testing. But once the problem is evident, employers should neither directly confront the employee and take strict action nor give a warning and let the issue go. The following steps can be of great help:

1. Gaining knowledge – The most important step is to read up about addiction extensively. The wealth of knowledge that one has will set the tone of discussion. Knowledge will also empower a manager to take corrective actions rather than acting in haste.

2. Approaching carefully – Once a manager has identified addiction in a worker, he/she might feel shocked and disheartened however, it is best to keep the reaction in control. One should approach the person in a clam manner. Being confrontational and playing blame games will only worsen the matter. Instead of saying “you are a drug addict,” one can say “Maybe you’ve got a problem and you need help.”

3. Explaining the seriousness of the problem – It is important that the one with an addiction is approached with empathy. He or she must be told that addiction is like any other physical ailment and that it is not a moral failing or a result of feeble will power. Addiction is a serious mental disorder which demands treatment otherwise it will ruin the life of an individual and the family.

4. Offer to help at the workplace – If the manager or a coworker sincerely wishes to help a colleague with an addiction problem, they should do that at work itself. One can check with the HR about the policies around addiction, insurance and treatment and help the concerned person with all the paperwork. While he/she is away for the treatment, someone else can offer to share pending work.

5. Instituting intervention – When an employee works under the intoxicated state, supervisors and coworkers can address the problem in a better way. Once the person with an addiction problem is identified, it is important to remember that he or she must receive professional support to effectively deal with it. Colleagues can come forward and look for state-of-the-art addiction centers to help the one in need.

Recovery from drug addiction is possible

It is possible to recover from drug or alcohol addiction provided one is willing to seek help. Families and friends can be a great source of support by encouraging the affected person to walk the path of sobriety by getting professional treatment at the earliest. Untreated substance abuse problems are detrimental to not just one’s health but also life.

If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to any drug, contact the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline to get connected to some of the reputed drug addiction treatment centers in Arizona and other parts of the country. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-576-4147 or chat online with one of our specialists to know more.

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