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Substance Abuse Costs Employers Billions Annually. Save Money and Improve Productivity by taking these Steps

Occupational Health

substance abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, drug and alcohol policy

Per the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD), drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually.

Taking this statistic into consideration, substance abuse could be costing you more than you think. But how do you know? Where do you begin?

An employee’s productivity is the driving force behind your company’s success. Without motivated and result driven employees, your companies progress will stagnate.  More importantly, employees that do not bring their A game consistently, end up putting your hard-earned cash to waste. Now, some individuals solely lack the drive to succeed, but many individuals in today’s workforce have a different road block, substance abuse. For instance, 70% of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illicit drugs are employed (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence). Illicit drugs are not the only contributors to substance abuse in the workplace, alcohol and prescription drugs play major roles as well.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Employers should first make sure that they have an up to date and effective Drug and Alcohol Policy. There are many components to a Drug and Alcohol Policy but the most important step in its formation is the recognition of current federal and state laws. Additionally, it is essential that your policy is clearly communicated to your workforce not once, but each time it is updated. When your employees have an in depth understanding of your policy, they will know what is expected of them and what will not be tolerated in the workplace.

Drug and Alcohol Programs

When you have implemented your policy and your workforce is fully aware of its information, you can then practice your established drug and alcohol testing programs. By testing your workforce regularly, and having a system that works, employees will be discouraged from abusing substances. Moreover, standing by your policy and testing programs will result in a stable and positive working environment. There are many different components to this process from the different types of drug tests available to the various timing of drug tests. It is imperative that you take the time to fully understand each step of the process you select.

Substance abuse treatment programs will significantly decrease your overall costs as well. Billions of dollars are wasted each year due to loss in work productivity, and increased health care spending. However, with the establishment of Employee Assistant Programs (EAPs) or Drug Free Workplace Programs(DFWP), your expenses will decrease and your productivity will increase. These programs act as outlets to your employees that incorporate wellness and substance abuse education components. When employees can seek help, both the employee and employer benefit. Through these programs, employees will increase their overall health, improve job performance, increase productivity and show up to work consistently. Furthermore, costs will be reduced in regards to short and long term disability and worker’s compensation claims.

The bad news is, substance abuse will always exist. The good news is, you can decrease it within your company. A 2011 poll conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) revealed the success of establishing workplace programs. They reported the following:

  • 9% reported high absenteeism rates before implementing a drug testing program compared to 4% after program implementation;
  • 14% reported high workers’ compensation incidence rates prior to program implementation compared to 6% after implementation;
  • 9% reported experiencing an increase of productivity after program implementation;
  • 16% reported seeing a decrease in employee turnover rates after implementation.

Origin can Help

Whether you know your company is a victim to substance abuse or not, it’s time to act now. Origin is a Third Party Administer capable of implementing a well drafted and up to date Drug and Alcohol Policy as well as tailor your drug testing programs to your exact specifications. Don’t wait any longer to create the fast paced and safe work environment that only clear minded and substance free employees can create. Build trust within your company by putting your trust in Origin.





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