Signs of Employee Drug Abuse
May 1, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information
Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse, is repeated excessive use of a chemical substance to achieve a certain effect. There are many reasons for substance abuse. If a person is under a lot of stress, coping with depression, or is dealing with untreated physical or emotional pain, a person may turn to drugs. It is imperative that you know and understand the signs of drug abuse first before reporting her to the human resources department.
If you observe one or more of these behaviors in a person at work, it is possible that they are abusing drugs:
• deterioration in personal appearance
• restlessness or falls asleep at work
• chronic irritability or unpredictability in personality
• avoidance of co-workers
• blaming of others for work difficulties
• increased absenteeism
• expressing problems at home
• denial that anything is wrong
• sudden weight loss or weight gain
Often, more noticeable for employers are changes in a person’s work performance. These signs may be an indication that the person is involved in substance abuse:
• quality of work decreases
• productivity wanes
• arrives late to work, takes long lunch breaks, and leaves work early
• misses work often
• poor concentration, confusion
• disregard for safety
• errors in judgment
When to report employee drug abuse to human resources
Most companies have EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) to help an employee deal with problem situations such as substance abuse. It is only mandatory to report substance abuse in the workplace if the abuse is taking place on company grounds, it affects the employee’s work or affects other co-workers.
Keep in mind that these signs may also be a warning of another problem with the person that has nothing to do with drugs, such as mental illness, depression or problems at home.
Trust your instincts
Whether you have witnessed someone at work doing drugs or suspect that she is doing drugs, don’t ignore your instincts that something is wrong. When in doubt, it is best to seek guidance in determining if the employee or your co-worker needs help.