Substance Abuse Case Study

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Introduction Substance abuse is a major problem in today's society, and for businesses it can be a massive headache. Typically responsibility of substance abuse falls to human resources for policy direction and front-line managers for executing the policy. There is a wide range of substances that are abused, and the implications for the company are considerable. First, there is the productivity issue, since substance abuse in the workplaces costs American businesses billions – an estimated $246 billion in lost productivity in 1992, the last year for which data is known (DOL, 2014). Two decades later, that figure is likely much, much higher today. Substance abuse in the workplace is a widespread problem, with 14% of workers reporting heavy drinking, and other statistics showing that 73% of current drug users are presently employed (DOL, 2014). In addition to productivity issues, there are liability issues. While not all drug users will work while under the influence, some do, and that can have serious implications for liability should the work be of poor quality, or other problems that can occur when a worker is not at peak fitness. In additional to illegal drugs, prescription drug abuse is also common in the US, and there are differences for businesses between the two categories with respect to detection and remedy. This paper will outline this issue, and how companies have dealt with it. There will also be recommendations for how companies can continue to address this issue going forward. The Forms of Substance Abuse There are a number of different forms of substance abuse, and each of these is going to have some relevance in the workplace. First, there is an opportunity to break down this abuse by drug. A legal but... ... middle of paper ... ... point remain in treatment and will see positive outcomes in terms of reduce recidivism and harm reduction. The one grey area for employers is with respect to prescription drug abuse. While the White House is publishing papers noting the rise in prescription drug abuse, deaths from prescription drug overdose and the billions of dollars lost in productivity from drug abuse in the workplace, the EEOC is going to bat for the right of drug abusers to get wasted with impunity in the workplace. Civil rights extend to illegal off-label use of prescription drugs but not to illegal use of other drugs. It's a funny area legally, and at this point leaves the most risk for employers because they are virtually powerless to address the issue and this means they are vulnerable to ongoing accidents and productivity loss as the result of prescription drug abuse in the workplace.
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