Nowadays, workplaces are prone to the widespread use of drugs, and that is why companies are sponsoring efforts to address the problem and curb drug use. Among these is conducting drug testing using a saliva drug test.
The increasing adoption of drug testing is due to the accelerating use of drugs. The World Drug Report 2022 states that drug use affects an estimated 36.3 million people worldwide. Because of this trend, researchers expect the drug screening market will reach $18.99 billion by 2029.
Drug abuse costs employers $81 billion every year. With the prevalent use of drugs, companies need to step up efforts to combat it. It is necessary that your organization addresses the drug use problem and finds ways to resolve it.
The Need To Address Drug Use In The Workplace
Most aspects of work need employees to be alert, quick, and accurate. Impaired senses can interfere with work efficiency and safety. It can lead to untoward incidents and, worse, accidents.
Impairment may be the result of employee fatigue or stress. It can also be the consequence of drug abuse. If not immediately addressed, it can lead to more problematic situations at work.
Some of the warning signs of addiction to drugs include:
- Problems at work
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Unexplained absences
- Ignoring commitments and responsibilities
- Unusual lack of motivation
- Sudden mood swings
- Changes in behavior
- Weight loss
- Changes in physical appearance
- Withdrawal from social contacts
How to Address and Reduce Drug Use in the Workplace
Workplace drug abuse can cause discouragement in those who have to deal with the drug user. While it is a monumental problem, there are steps you can take to start addressing the issue. Learn how you can be proactive in resolving it.
Recognize telltale signs of addiction.
Learn to determine the first signs of drug abuse in the workplace. It will help you confirm if your suspicions are true. The most common indications are:
- It can take the form of sloppy performance and poor work volume. An increasing number of sick days is also a sign of trouble.
- Changes in appearance. Showing up at work ungroomed with bloodshot eyes may be a sign of a brewing drug abuse problem.
- Mood changes. It can manifest as decreased energy and increased tension with workmates.
Document these instances for record purposes. It will be valuable when you need to address the issue.
Provide A Written Company Drug Testing Policy.
Ensure you have a written policy about drug testing policy in the workplace. It should include clear language about testing employees if there is reasonable doubt about drug abuse. The policy should explain how and when the drug test may apply.
Provide clear, written consequences for failing a drug test. When creating the policy, consider the privacy and rights of the employees. Employees must also be aware of the following:
- Content of the drug test policy
- Their obligations as employees
- The consequences for failing a drug test
You can include the policy as a separate document or as a section in your health and safety policy. Incorporate it into the employment contract or handbook. Include it as well on the terms and conditions of employment.
Know the law and follow guidelines.
If you suspect an employee may have a drug problem, consult your company lawyer to determine what you should do. Some laws provide guidelines for employees needing leaves of absence. It includes drug users seeking treatment.
Check with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if your addicted employee is eligible for FMLA leave. Do this as a way to help your employee.
Talk To Your Employee With Sympathy.
Discuss your observations with your employee. Show concern and ask them about it. Listen to them without assumptions to encourage them to be honest. As your drug testing policy is in place, include a request for a drug test during your conversation.
There are cases when employee conduct clearly shows the use of drugs at work. But the company must not give out disciplinary action until the test confirms positive drug use.
Consider getting a third party to attend the discussion. It will give the meeting a more unbiased mood. Assure the employee of privacy.
Conduct Drug Testing.
Follow the guidelines provided in your workplace drug test policy. When you check an employee’s exposure to drugs, make sure to do it in a lawful and fair way. Inform your employee of the results of the test. The outcome will determine what you need to do.
Only an accredited facility should conduct a drug test. A quick and easy way to screen for potential drug abuse is a saliva drug test. It allows easy monitoring of the testing process and ensures an honest sample.
Create a system to protect drug-testing files. Assign an employee to receive test results. Inform them of the obligation to keep the records confidential.
Consider Offering Support Instead Of Outright Dismissal.
It is not uncommon for employers to dismiss employees who fail a drug test. But if you want to help your employee, offer options that help them solve their problem.
Consider offering sick leave to the affected employee. If appropriate, suggest that they seek counseling or rehabilitation. You may also want to look at the underlying causes of positive test results.
The use of drugs has a significant impact on your employee’s ability to perform their work. It leads to reduced productivity and poses a health and safety risk. Ensure your policy is in place to deter drug use. But let your employees know that the company is also ready to offer support.
Address drug use in your organization with proactive steps to ensure workplace security. For employees with drug abuse problems, motivate them to seek professional help. Doing so helps them to find ways to improve themselves.
As an employer, you must provide a safe workplace. Ensure the health, safety, and mental well-being of your employees. By being proactive, you can begin to resolve the drug use problem and extend support to affected employees as well.