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Drugs and Alcohol In The Workplace – What Is It Costing You?

Published 18 Mar 2019
Updated 17 Jun 2022
3 min read
Drugs and Alcohol In The Workplace - What Is It Costing You?

This is a guest post bySouth Pacific Private who explain how management can improve mental wellness strategies in the workplace. Want to know what drugs and alcohol in the workplace are costing you? You’ve come to the right place. Employees may think that what happens in their private life is nothing to do with their employer and on the whole, they’re right. However, when issues arise at work due to external influences like drugs and alcohol, this then becomes a matter that a company and employer can’t ignore.

The Alarming Figures of Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

Drug and alcohol misuse is shockingly present in most workplaces and the Australian Drug Foundation says the annual cost of absenteeism alone due to alcohol is estimated at up to $1.2billion. With drug use in Australia on the rise, this cost is also set to increase which is setting off alarm bells within companies across the nation. According to illicit drugs are used by more than a quarter of people in their 20s each year and data from a recent study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that illicit drug use increased among people in their 40s (from 12% to 16%) and 50s (from 6.7% to 12%) between 2001 and 2016. While some people can misuse drugs and alcohol and still have success in the workplace, ‘high-functioning’ employees are no less in need of support and can still cause significant damage to companies. Loss in productivity, high turnover rates, increases in absenteeism and decreases in quality of work can all be a result of substance abuse. While the negative impact to the employer may be vast, co-workers and colleagues are also at risk. An unsafe work environment, the need to cover for their employee’s poor performance and disputes can arise leading to embarrassment, awkward situations and a feeling of unfairness at work. Of course, the major concern is for the employee misusing the drugs and alcohol. The risks involved aren’t just addiction, they’re physical andmental health problems, personal relationship issues and loss of job and financial issues, to name a few.

Safety and Support

For the welfare and safety of every employee, it’s important that employers uphold health and safety legislations and create a healthy work environment. Setting in place policies, education and aligning with organisations that provide support services are all ways to reduce the impact that substance abuse can cause and ease the financial burden on the company. Results from South Pacific Private’s Australian Life in Recovery Survey showed that missing work was a frequent occurrence in addiction however this decreased by 50% in recovery, proving the importance of an environment that supports employees’ health and recovery. Specialists at South Pacific Private, Australia’s Leading Treatment Centre, are experts in drug and alcohol treatment. Fully accredited and with over 25 years’ experience, our evidence-based treatment is delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of Psychiatrists, GPs, Registered Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Therapists and Case Workers. Supported by most health funds, treatment at South Pacific Private is designed to meet the individual needs of each client and offers the best possibility of recovery. Over the years, SPP has treated over ten thousand patients and their families for mental health concerns and addiction issues. Think your employee or colleague may be struggling with addiction or excessive drug and alcohol use? The common signs are:

  • A decline in personal appearance or hygiene
  • Complaints of failing relationships at home
  • Taking time off for vague illnesses or family problems

If you’re concerned, you can get them to do this quick alcoholism test to raise their awareness. Individuals who want to ask for help (for themselves or for someone they care about) can contact South Pacific Private 24/7. It’s as simple as calling 1800 063 332 in complete confidence or visiting our website for more information at Employment Hero has written an article on how to build a health and safety policy in the workplace that makes the office a safe environment for everyone.

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