Substance misuse in the workplace is a growing issue, because the number of people who are becoming addicted to substances is increasing, costing UK businesses time and money.
According to the Health & Safety Executive, substance abuse accounts for 18 million days worth of absences from UK workplaces, at a cost of around £4.1 billion a year to businesses. But it's not just drugs that are an issue. According to the TUC, as many as five percent of all work absences are due to alcohol, at a cost of almost £2 billion a year to UK workplaces.
Substance misuse has always been a delicate issue at work, and it isn't going away. Thanks to the faster pace of the working world, and the increased strains of modern life, more staff may turn to substances to cope. Drugs are more easily available than ever, and alcohol is increasingly seen by employees as an acceptable way to de-stress, leaving UK workplaces ill-equipped to cope with the rising problem of addiction.
These days, employers are legally required to treat addiction as a health issue, rather than a reason for immediate dismissal. But it is not just legal side of things that matters. Your staff will respect your organisation far more if they see that you are prepared to invest properly in their welfare. The cost of helping an ailing employee is also usually far less than the cost of replacing them through re-recruitment.
Why You Need an Addictions Expert For Your Workplace
Whether the issue is alcohol or drugs, businesses now need workplace addiction specialists to support employees to recover and return to work stronger and healthier. It is not enough any more to ask an Occupational Health team to deal with such a specialist issue.
Unfortunately, it is my experience that regular counsellors, doctors and other medical practitioners are often ill-equipped to deal with addiction. Indeed GPs rarely receive more than a few hours worth of training on this particular problem.
Addiction is confusing and painful for the addict, and for the best chance of workers afflicted by addictions recovering, workplaces need to consider consulting an addictions expert. It is already a difficult enough problem to deal with, without individuals feeling marginalised and misunderstood, as often happens with medical staff who don't deal with addiction as a specialism.
Addiction in employees is a very tricky issue, but you can give your valued team members a good chance of overcoming their problem by working with an expert in addiction and recovery. An addictions expert can give your staff the very best advice and strategies for resolving theiir issues and returning to work happy, healthy and productive.