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Is Substance Abuse Impacting You and Your Organization?

Learn how to identify the signs, and understand how substance abuse impacts the individual who is struggling with substance abuse, co-workers and the organization.


Substance use in the workplace isn’t new, nor is substance use outside the workplace - which affects the workplace.

Substance abuse impacts not only the individual who is struggling but also co-workers, work teams and the organization. Concerns include the well-being of the individual, safety, workplace morale, productivity, quality and profitability.

Placing employee well-being in the forefront, results from this program will include a safer work environment, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and reduced liability potential due to accidents.

Studies show that the average amount of time an alcoholic or addict is active in their addiction before seeking or being forced to get help is 13 years. In addition, 77% of people struggling with addiction are in the workforce and 60% of people know someone who has been at work while drunk of high. Alcoholics self-report that they are absent or unproductive 34 - 43% of the time. Absenteeism for people struggling with Substance Abuse ranges from 41% higher than the general workforce for alcoholics, to 176% higher for those with pain medication use disorder.

These numbers and risks can be reduced significantly through awareness, education and easily accessible programs to help employees deal with these issues.

Program Outline

Module 1 – Signs of Substance Abuse

There are obvious and less obvious indicators that substance use is becoming problematic for an individual.  By the time obvious signs are recognized, such as signs of impairment, hangovers and frequent Monday morning absenteeism, many signs which are more difficult to spot may have been going unnoticed for weeks, months or even years.

This module will help participants identify the typical signs as well as the less obvious behavioral indicators and identifies signs specific to the most commonly abuse substances.

Module 2 – Impact of Substance Abuse – People

People abuse substances for a variety of reasons.  Some to cope with stress, some to block out traumatic events, some to deal with pain from injury or illness.  Substance abuse is almost always a method people use to deal with some form of emotional or physical disturbance.  Knowing this can help identify stressors such as a break-up or divorce, a sick loved one, injury or illness as contributing factors in substance abuse.  People with substance abuse issues need help and ignoring or enabling their behaviors is detrimental to them and the workplace.

People working with those dealing with substance abusers are often greatly impacted as well.  Morale can be low as a result, there may be a need to compensate for absences, lateness or inaccurate or incomplete work.  Substance abusers can often experience changes in their attitude and become difficult to work with, agitated, confrontational and sometimes violent.

This module explains the impacts on the workforce and individual well-being and the need for having a proactive approach in dealing with substance abuse.

Module 3 – Impacts of Substance Abuse – Organizations

The overall well-being of the workforce and a safe and healthy work environment is essential for high productivity, high quality products and services, employee retention and profitability. 

Unidentified or unchecked substance abuse can severely reduce all of these and cause numerous additional problems such as high incident rates, absenteeism, unnoticed lack of production, risk to co-workers and higher turnover.

This module identifies risks and impacts to the organization and explains how increased awareness through education is beneficial for everyone.