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Drug addiction & testing in the workplace

Drug addiction in the workplace can be detrimental for both employees and the public alike. Employers have a duty of care to their employees and if a member of staff is suspected of having a problem with drug abuse, it is vital they talk to their employee and get them the right drug addiction treatment. Those with a drug problem shouldn’t be deterred from seeking help due to fear of dismissal, as employers should support their staff members through addiction treatment. Here, Port of Call offer advice on dealing with drug abuse in the workplace and assess the impacts of workplace drug testing.

Drug addiction in the workplace

Drug addiction in the workplace

Drug abuse in the workplace statistics

In 2011, a report, carried out by the drug and alcohol screening firm Concateno, highlighted the increase in positive results when employees were tested for drug substances in workplace drug testing. The results illustrated a 3.23% rise in cases of employees testing positive, based on random drug tests carried out throughout the country. The tests were rolled out in organisations that had drug testing policies in place, meaning all employees knew that there was a possibility of being tested for drugs as part of their employment contract. This percentage increase is particularly worrying, however it just goes to show how drug addiction in the workplace is becoming more of a prevalent issue.

How does drug abuse affect the workplace?

Working with a colleague who has a drug addiction can be very challenging. You may not have come across this in your working life and therefore may not know how to handle the situation, but the most important thing to do is to tell your employer or someone in higher management. They will be able to take the pressure off you, ensuring you don’t feel as if you are responsible for your colleague. Overall, the effects of drug abuse in the workplace are quite negative, as it can lead to a downfall in communication, low team morale and members of staff having to pick up the slack for their colleague. None of these factors contribute to a healthy working environment, which is why it is vital that your employer is fully aware of the situation at hand.
In order to help you assess whether you think you, or your colleague, might have a drug abuse problem, Port of Call has put together some the tell-tale signs of drug abuse in the workplace:

  • Sudden lack of productivity
  • Abnormal fluctuations in concentration and energy
  • Poor attendance
  • Change in temperament
  • Suggestions of substance misuse outside of work
  • Tardiness

These signs and symptoms shouldn’t be taken as proof that your colleague using drugs as they could be caused by other external factors such as stress. However, if you are concerned about the welfare of your co-worker you should report them to a person of high authority in your workplace. Understandably, many may be reluctant to report the problems, however in the long term, it is important to remember this will ultimately help the individual.

How to report drug abuse in the workplace

The possession of drugs is illegal and in order to ensure the safety of you and your colleagues, any suspected substance misuse should be reported. You may want to document the instances that have led you to believe that your colleague is suffering from drug abuse or alternatively, consult your work’s drug misuse policy. These policies will give you a good idea of how to combat the problem of drug use in the work environment and will guide you through the specific process that is usually undertaken at your workplace.

Drug testing in the workplace

Drug testing policies in the workplace

As an employer, it is important to try and target the problem of substance misuse before it becomes a problem for fellow colleagues and the business as a whole. Drug testing in the workplace is becoming increasingly common in various industries, including construction and railway. By carrying out employment drug testing at random intervals, you are minimising the risk of drug abuse in the workplace and are assisting in the protection of your employees’ health and wellbeing.
Workplace drug testing is used in order to prevent drug addiction in the workplace and is supported by the Government, as long as the process is done safely and with the individual’s health and safety in mind. There are three main types of drug tests, including hair, urine and oral testing. By taking a sample of an employee’s hair, it can be tested for traces of drug substances. This is the most intrusive form of drug testing and is also very lengthy in comparison to the other processes. Urine and oral tests are the most common.

Port of Call is here to help with drug abuse in the workplace

If you have a drug addiction, Port of Call is here to help you access the treatment you need. Similarly, if an employee, or a colleague, is abusing drugs in the workplace, we can offer advice on the steps you can take in order to assist them in getting help. If you wish to speak to one of our helpful advisors, please contact us today by calling us for free on 08000029010 or write to help@portofcall.com.

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