Drugs and alcohol can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to function in the workplace. Drug use often affects an individual’s emotional, physical, and mental state. This can cause other employees to feel uncomfortable or unsafe.   

While some instances of substance use are obvious to spot, others can be more subtle. After all, not everyone has experience interacting with individuals struggling with addiction. Therefore, here is some information about how to spot signs of drug use in the workplace and what to do.

Drug Use in the Workplace

Addiction is a powerful and all-encompassing disease. Those who struggle with addiction often don’t understand the impact they have on the people around them. In more serious cases, drugs and alcohol become more important than maintaining healthy workplace habits and relationships. 

Substance abuse may present itself in a number of different ways. Symptoms of a substance abuse disorder can differ from person to person, depending on the substance and severity. Here are some of the most common signs of drug use in the workplace.

  • Mood swings and unpredictable behavior
  • A disheveled physical appearance
  • They claim to be tired or sick frequently 
  • Episodes of accidents or injuries in the workplace
  • Asking coworkers to borrow money or showing other signs of financial issues
  • Inappropriate workplace conversations about family problems
  • Frequent and strange disagreements with co-workers and supervisors 
  • A clear lack of productivity or periods of spikes and drops
  • Disregarding safety procedures in the workplace

Other more specific signs of drug use in the workplace include the following:

  • Smelling like alcohol or body odor 
  • Bloodshot or glassy eyes
  • Unusually sized pupils  
  • Signs of disorientation, paranoia, or spiked anxiety 
  • Leaving and returning to the workplace throughout the day
  • Frequent lateness

How to React to Signs of Drug Use

Most employees don’t know how to react when they see signs of drug use in the workplace. Due to the volatility of many drug users, it may seem easier to avoid the situation entirely. However, many coworkers fail to understand that their actions or inactions may be enabling the drug user. 

In most situations, people enable substance abusers without realizing it. They believe that they are helping because their intentions are good. If the drug user is also considered a friend of yours, it can be especially difficult to know what to do. That’s why it’s important to have some guidelines to follow. 

Here are some of the do’s and don’ts when you experience substance abuse in the workplace. 

What Not to Do

  • Don’t cover for them with supervisors or make excuses
  • Don’t take on their workload or give their workload to another employee
  • Don’t loan them money or help them get illicit drugs
  • Don’t help them call out sick
  • Don’t attempt to diagnose, treat, or tell them what to do

What to Do

  • Read your company policies on substance abuse and follow the recommended steps 
  • Document instances (including time and dates) of substance abuse behavior 
  • When documenting instances, only mention the facts rather than your opinion
  • Report instances to a supervisor in private
  • Potentially refer the drug user to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if available

Create a Drug-Free Workplace with Soteria Screening Laboratories Today

Do you or your employees believe that someone in your company is abusing drugs or alcohol? 

At Soteria Screening Laboratories, we aim to help you maintain a healthy business. When an employee is abusing drugs and alcohol, it can have a massive impact on company productivity and morale. At Soteria, we will assist you in developing a drug and alcohol testing program that meets your specific needs.

Are you ready to create a drug-free workplace? Contact Soteria Screening Laboratories today!

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