Drugs and alcohol in the workplace: Five signs a co-worker could be suffering from substance abuse
Suzannah Robin, an alcohol and drug safety expert at AlcoDigital, has helped numerous companies across the UK with their testing policies and procedures. Here she lists the five signs that could mean a colleague is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Alcohol and drug related deaths continue to be a problem in the UK, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that the number of people dying from alcohol and drug abuse has continued to increase over the last decade.
The issue extends far and wide, with many companies across the UK feeling the effects. In fact, according to the Department for Transport, drugs and alcohol cost British businesses in excess of £6 billion per year in lost productivity.
Many organisations have now put in place policies to test staff for drugs and alcohol. However, while having a procedure in place will help to identify issues, employers should also be actively encouraging employees to come forward, and offering assistance and access to treatment for staff who are struggling.
But what are the signs to look out for? Although they vary depending on the substance being abused, here are five common indications that a co-worker could be suffering from addiction …
- Erratic behaviour and unpredictable mood swings – an individual may be happy and full of energy one minute, and then lethargic, depressed and irritable the next. He or she may also lose interest in activities and hobbies they’ve previously enjoyed, or become socially withdrawn and isolated.
- Poor timekeeping and absenteeism – consistently turning up to work late and constantly taking time off could both be signs that something is wrong. Particularly if there is a pattern for such occurrences taking place following the weekend or a stretch of annual leave.
- Work-related performance issues – an inability to carry out basic tasks efficiently or effectively and an overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of work being completed.
- Personal hygiene – neglecting cleanliness and grooming. Turning up looking dishevelled and unkempt.
- Injuries and other physical changes – unexplained injuries, shaking, incoherent speech, bloodshot eyes and frequent nosebleeds are all possible signs a person may be abusing drugs or alcohol.
If you suspect a co-worker is suffering from substance abuse, encourage them to seek professional help either via their GP, a local treatment service or support group.
AlcoDigital provides free reviews for companies looking to implement drug and alcohol policies. Please visit www.alcodigital.co.uk for more information.