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Addiction affecting your employees is a very real issue that you cannot afford to ignore. The perception that addiction only affects the homeless or those living in a state of despair is largely a myth.

It’s estimated that over 70% of people suffering from addiction maintain employment.  Thus, if you employ more than ten people, the changes are very high that at least one of your employees is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction.

Your employees’ addiction could be costing you money in a variety of ways. Although many people affected by addiction are described as ‘functioning’, it’s likely that their addiction is impairing their productivity in many ways. Also, employees affected by addiction are also much more likely to suffer an injury during working hours, which could cost you in terms of healthcare expenses and lawsuits.

Dismissing an employee for his or her addiction may be your first thought in tackling this issue. However, it’s also likely that you may wish to help your employee or colleague so he or she may overcome the addiction without suffering job loss.

Below, we outline a number of handy tips to assist you in helping an employee or colleague who is affected by addiction:

1. Establish clear policies relating to drug and alcohol use in the workplace

This step involves educating employees about the dangers of using substances whilst on the job and also enforcing drug testing. You will need to give employees notice of these new policies before they come into force.

2. Educate management on the signs of addiction

Your management team members are experts in their respective fields, but it’s unlikely they will be familiar with the signs of addiction. Many of these signs are subtle and non-noticeable to the untrained eye. Training management to detect the early signs of addiction will allow you to help employees and colleagues before this problem is allowed to advance.

3. Keep records of incidents and behaviour that may hint at the existence of an addiction

Once your management team is trained to recognise the signs of addiction, it’s important for them to keep written notes of these facts. Keeping these records will assist when the time comes to present this to employees concerned. Many people affected by addiction experience denial. Keeping records will help convince your employee or colleague that a problem does exist.

4. Address the problem swiftly

If you feel your employee or colleague is suffering from an addiction, it’s important to address the issue without delay. Address your concerns in private, and do not make your employee or colleague feel cornered during this meeting. It is likely your employee or colleague will feel embarrassed or even shamed by his or her addiction, so it’s important to deal with this issue discretely and productively.

The outcome of this intervention will depend upon the role your colleague or employee undertakes. If he or she works in a customer-facing position, then you may be well advised to move this person into a role that’s not on the frontline. The same applies if this person handles heavy machinery.

5. Consider treatment options

It is unlikely your employee’s or colleague’s addiction will simply go away because you have raised the issue with him or her. In 90%+ of situations of this nature, this person will require professional addiction treatment taking place at an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab clinic. Here, your employee or colleague will receive effective treatments that tackle the root causes of addiction.

Simply taking a week or two away from work is unlikely to suffice in defeating drug and alcohol addiction. It’s probable that your workplace health insurance policy will cover the cost of going to rehab if such a policy is in place

How we can help

At Rehab 4 Addiction, we offer expert advice when it comes to placing employees into drug and alcohol rehab clinics. We may also advise on how to claim the costs of sending an employee to rehab via a health insurance policy. Not all rehab clinics accept payment by way of insurance policy. We shall advise you on which clinics will accept this form of payment when you contact us on 0800 140 4690 today. You may also contact us through this website.

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