An employee — let’s call him Fred — used to be one of the most productive workers at the company. Now, he frequently blows deadlines, and when he turns in work, it is shoddy and riddled with errors. Fred has begun to neglect his appearance and hygiene. Plus, he has started to call out sick from work more frequently, especially on Fridays and around payday.
You suspect that Fred has developed a substance addiction, but that was confirmed when he overdosed on the job and had to be revived. Now you must act before he declines further, endangering himself, his fellow employees, and the reputation of the company.
There are several benefits to sending Fred to drug rehabilitation. Plus, a professional intervention can be the most effective means to accomplishing that end.
Read on to find out what you should do if you suspect an employee has a substance abuse problem and how you can conduct a proper intervention to get them the help they need.
Fred represents the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), about 70 percent of those people are employed.
Many companies have elected to terminate people who have succumbed to substance addiction, often under the charge of poor performance. This appears to be the most prudent response in that it swiftly excises that person from the company, minimizing the danger the individual poses to the bottom line.
Still, it is tricky to identify whether an employee has a substance abuse issue. There are, however, obvious signs that a person battling addiction can exhibit.
They can include:
The signs of abuse and addiction are also revealed through a person’s behaviors and psychological symptoms.
Those indicators can include:
Ultimately, it is up to a particular company how it chooses to address the issue of employee substance abuse.
Considering the nature of addiction, the costs associated with hiring a new person, and the goodwill an employer can engender by aiding rather than firing an employee, there are many benefits that come with sending someone to rehab.
Sending someone to a professional treatment program can save their life, especially if that person is battling an addiction to alcohol, opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or benzodiazepines — substances that can produce deadly consequences.
A substance addiction, by definition, is a chronic, relapsing disorder of the brain “characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Thus, addiction is a health disorder and not a pathological condition or criminal act. A company that can view an employee’s addiction as a health concern can get that person the help they need.
If that person can complete treatment and achieve a sustained recovery, it can prove to be a “win-win” situation for both parties.
Additional benefits to sending an employee to rehab, according to PsychCentral include:
Increased productivity. With the completion of treatment, an employee can become more productive at work. According to PsychCentral, someone who has undergone treatment can become more responsive to superiors, and be healthier physically and emotionally.
Job satisfaction. The individual will be better able to perform at work, manage their workload, and if they are a supervisor, manage others more efficiently. What’s more, if the person undergoing a successful recovery is a manager or supervisor, their employees will likely experience increased job satisfaction.
Company loyalty. An employee who gets sent to treatment will likely exhibit greater loyalty toward an employer that was willing to help them with their addiction struggles. That loyalty could translate to increased productivity at work and a boost in performance. An employee that receives drug or alcohol treatment is “less likely to injure the company in an inadvertent way, such as damaging the company’s reputation,” asserts PsychCentral.
Recovery time. Someone who requires medical leave for a lengthy or complicated surgical procedure will need more recovery time than a person in drug or alcohol treatment. An employee who enrolls in residential treatment can remain there between 30 to 90 days and can typically resume work in six to eight weeks.
Cost-effective to keep the employee. While firing an employee with a substance abuse problem might seem like an efficient solution, a company can end up paying more money in the long run. When a company fires someone, it may end up incurring the following costs:
Moral duty. There are moral implications to consider. Sending an employee to alcohol or drug rehab is the right thing to do. Why? Because a substance addiction is a brain disease. Thus, that person should be given the same accommodation as someone grappling with a health condition. States PsychCentral: “Legally, companies are not allowed to fire employees due to serious health issues, such as cancer or heart health, but employers are much more willing to let employees go because of substance abuse or alcohol addiction – diseases which should be treated as physical and mental health issues that need to be addressed for the health of the employee.”
If you suspect that an employee or peer has a substance abuse issue, the best way to get them to go to rehab is by conducting an intervention. According to the Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS), research suggests that up to 90 percent of interventions succeed at getting someone into treatment.
For workplace-centered interventions, it is imperative that employers utilize the services of a certified intervention professional (CIP) to orchestrate the gathering.
A CIP ensures that the person with a substance abuse problem enters treatment. They also provide the following benefits:
What’s more, a CIP can lead an intervention, ensuring that it is effective and meets professional standards.
The Mayo Clinic advises that intervention meetings adhere to the following objectives:
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a workplace intervention program that offers support to employees struggling with emotional or behavioral issues. An EAP provides programs to help those who are experiencing hardships in critical life areas such as finances, relationships, life stressors, legal issues, and substance abuse.
EAP hotlines are open 24/7 and staffed with licensed and experienced counselors. EAP provides access to more than 40,000 network counselors, and employees can get legal help, and personal and performance counseling.
Additionally, all calls and inquiries to the EAP are kept confidential.
If you suspect that an employee has a substance addiction, then it is critical that they seek professional addiction treatment. Why? Because a reputable, evidence-based program will offer multifaceted therapy and care that treats the entire person, mind, body, and spirit.
Professional recovery starts with a medical detoxification program, which occurs under acute treatment. At this stage, doctors, nurses, and other personnel provide around-the-clock care and supervision as the addictive substance is removed from the body. They are also on hand to treat any painful or debilitating symptoms that arise from withdrawal. Depending on the substance, a proper detoxification program can last seven to 10 days.
The next step in treatment is clinical stabilization, which consists of extensive therapy and counseling that will allow an addicted person to get to the root of their addiction. Typically, a clinical stabilization program, where a person lives at the site where they are receiving treatment, lasts between 30 and 90 days.
If that person has a substance abuse disorder and a co-occurring mental health issue, a reputable facility will offer dual-diagnosis treatment, which offers the kind of specialized care to effectively address both conditions.
Should additional counseling and therapy be required, there is outpatient care, which provides those services on a part-time basis.
Once treatment is completed, clinicians can connect that person to a recovery community that can provide them with support and mentorship.
A reputable, professional treatment program can help someone battling an addiction get their life back. Let us help you locate a program that can accomplish that goal.
Call 844-326-4514 anytime, day or evening, for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable addiction recovery specialists. We can help you find the right treatment option. You can also contact us online for more information.
Addiction in the Workplace: Tips for Employers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-08-04/addiction-in-the-workplace-tips-for-employers
Delphi Behavioral Health Group. (2018, August 30). Symptoms and Signs of Addiction in a Loved One. Retrieved from https://delphihealthgroup.com/addiction/signs-of-addiction/
Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction. (2017, July 20). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/intervention/art-20047451
Stuckert, J. (2018, October 08). Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Employees. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/seeking-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-for-employees/
What is an Intervention? Learn About Intervention. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.associationofinterventionspecialists.org/learn-about-intervention/