The real cost of substance abuse in the workplace

Fsp Business, 04 Sep. 2013

Tags: substance abuse, the real cost of substance abuse, substance abuse in the workplace, the consequences of substance abuse



No business, regardless of its size or location is immune to the countless problems drug abuse can cause. Some costs are obvious. Others are less so, but equally as harmful. Read on to discover the real cost of substance abuse in the workplace and what you can do to curb it.


According to the Health&Safety Advisor, workplace substance abuse is the use of substances including alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, other illicit drugs, solvents and misuse of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications at the workplace.

Your company will suffer greatly if you overlook the problem of substance abuse.

Here’s what substance abuse will cost your business if you overlook it…

The economic impacts of substance abuse on businesses or industry are difficult to measure. Many costs are hidden by general absenteeism or illnesses, ‘unnoticed’ lack of productivity, or inability or reluctance to link substance abuse directly to causes of accidents.

Some of the costs related to substance abuse are:
  • People missing work because of accidents;
  • Disease;
  • People dying; and
  • Direct health care.
As such, costs to a business may be both direct and indirect. The impact of reported substance abuse often focuses on four major issues:
  • Premature death or fatal accidents.
  • Injuries and high accident rates.
  • Absenteeism and extra sick leave.
  • Loss of production.
Additional costs can include:
  • Tardiness and sleeping on the job;
  • Theft;
  • Poor decision-making;
  • Loss of efficiency;
  • Lower morale of co-workers;
  • Increased likelihood of having trouble with co-workers, supervisors or tasks;
  • Higher staff turnover;
  • Training of new employees;
  • Disciplinary procedures;
  • Drug testing programmes; and
  • Medical, rehabilitation or employee assistance programmes.
Is there a way to minimise the costs caused by substance abuse?

Yes! You can reduce costs caused by substance abuse if you create a drug-free workplace.

You can do this by creating substance abuse programmes in your workplace. Components of a drug-free workplace programme include employee education, employee assistance, a drug-free workplace policy and drug testing.

Substance abuse can cause huge expenses for your business, so make sure you put an end to it.

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