Drug addiction is plaguing the nation. This continuing epidemic causes problems not only for households and families… but also for the workplace. Now, employers need to have awareness of the dangers of drugs in the workplace and drug addiction on their employees.
What happens if an employee dies from an overdose at work? What is the impact of drugs in the workplace?
Safety experts, who have analyzed the latest government data on deaths in the workplace, claim that deaths due to overdose at work are rising. And, they are doing so at a high rate. Apparently, in 2017, 55 workers died from drug overdoses.
Not only are there deaths to worry about, but drugs can create other problems in the workplace. Losses in productivity, injuries, theft – the list goes on.
So, what is the solution?
According to experts: preventive measures and employer involvement. Unfortunately, while drugs in the workplace is a tricky topic of conversation, it needs to be addressed. According to Don Martin, senior vice president for Marietta, employers should create programs to assist drug-addicted employees. And, in addition, they should fight for policy changes. This may involve community social agencies that help reduce alcohol and drug dependency.
Essentially, employers need to stop turning a blind eye. Martin stated: “This is where it gets touchy or difficult for employers to do something because this requires them to get involved,” Mr. Martin said. “This is a big political and social problem. This is a reflection of what’s happening in society, and it finds its way into the workplaces. Employers have to get more involved politically and socially.”
And, experts agree, discipline should not be the only way to deal with workers with drug addictions. Instead, supervisors and other employees need training. Training should help them recognize warning signs of drug addiction. Also, they should make sure healthcare plans involve substance abuse.
Essentially, experts encourage employers to treat the issue as a health one. Ken Kolosh, the manager of statistics for the National Safety Council in Itasca, Illinois, said: “It’s not as much a disciplinary issue as an employee health and safety issue.” If the mentality and the stigma changes, perhaps people will be able to get the help they need more easily.
It is clear that drugs in the workplace is a problem… so, what are employers going to do about it?