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Substance Abuse – The Hidden Tax on Your Business

Substance Abuse – The Hidden Tax on Your Business

It’s all too easy to be unaware of just how much substance abuse can affect the efficiency, productivity and profitability of your business. Missed hours (and days) soon add up; so does the wasted time associated with shuffling staff around or arranging for temporary personnel to fill in for absentees.

And there are worse problems waiting in the wings. Accidents involving people, plant and vehicles. These can range from relatively minor to lethal. Your company or insurers can well foot the bills for punitive damages and compensation.

AOD (Alcohol & Other Drugs) infringers exhibit the most extreme lack of consideration for fellow workers, you as an employer and your customers.

This made all the worse by a culture which, for the most part, only sees alcohol and drugs like marijuana and cocaine as somehow just ‘naughty’ but not criminal.

The medical marijuana debate isn’t helpful either, muddying the line between what is legal and what is not. There is also a seemingly high level of tolerance for abusers of prescription-drugs, without real evaluation of the significant impairment levels produced.

A two-fold solution: education and detection

The zero tolerance message needs to be repeated and repeated. Yet even when this is done the infringements still continue. In America, for instance, nearly 75 per cent of all drug users are working. And between 10 and 20 percent of American workers who die at work test positive for AOD.

To make matters worse, studies show that the most dangerous occupations, such as mining and construction have the highest rates of employee drug use. Management and office staff have their fair share of offenders too.

So let’s take another look at the costs:

  • Firstly deaths and injuries
  • Destruction of company vehicles and property
  • Related insurance costs
  • Expenses related to treatment programs and counselling
  • Increased health care and workers’ compensation costs
  • Thefts and pilfering by addicts to support drug abuse
  • Hiring and training new employees to replace absentees
  • Reduced energy levels and decreased productivity
  • Worker conflicts
  • Bad decisions made through impaired thinking
  • Negative publicity
  • Poor morale, negative company culture and higher staff turnover — to name just the most obvious ones

Your company needs to be clear about its AOD policy, making sure it is properly written up and prominently displayed. Testing programs should also be well publicised, putting staff on notice that expert testing, using the latest technologies, will soon detect infringers.

Please contact us to discuss your business’s AOD needs and potential customised solutions.

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