The Dynamics of Addiction - Ashland County MHRB

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The Dynamics of Addiction in the Workplace

The Dynamics of Addiction in the Workplace
March 17, 2020

Did you know that half of Ohio businesses report suffering consequences due to substance misuse that relates to absenteeism, decreased productivity, and a shortage of workers? Overall in the US, substance misuse costs businesses $81 billion every year, mostly due to lost productivity and absenteeism as well as healthcare costs. Additionally, employees who abuse substances while at work may have lowered productivity, or even experience physical injuries and fatalities while on the job. Since addiction has such a negative impact on the workplace, it’s important for companies to educate and provide awareness training for their employees on the issue, as well as offer activities to enhance their well-being. 

Second Chances

Despite the high costs of keeping workers who struggle with addiction, Ohio businesses often give them a second chance. For example, Jonathan Rupert, who owns Distinctive Surfaces in Columbus employs 49 people, 15 of whom are former opioid addicts. Rupert, and many other business owners in Ohio and around the country, cites a shortage of workers and the challenge of finding employees who can pass a drug test as reasons for offering second chances. It also takes time, and money, to train new workers if those with addictions are let go. 

Enhancing the Well-Being of Workers

With so many people in the workforce struggling with addiction, it’s vital for businesses to offer support for employees who need help. Things such as giving employees paid time off to pursue rehabilitation, and offering job flexibility, employee assistance programs, and health insurance are key. Providing programs that focus on general well-being, which includes physical, mental, emotional, social, and economic health, can also help—and possibly prevent addictions from becoming a problem in the first place. 

Education and Awareness

Since many employees try to hide their addictions, colleagues and supervisors may not realize that issues of substance misuse in the workplace are so pervasive—so making sure employees are aware of the problem is the first step. Then, employees can learn the signs of addiction people may display in the workplace, such as a decline in personal appearance or hygiene, and complaints of failing relationships at home. It’s also important for employees to learn about options for treatment, so that they know where to get help or can encourage struggling colleagues to do so. 

Formal training programs are also a great way to boost employee awareness. In the Ashland community, ACCADA provides free addiction awareness training where participants can learn about the biology of addiction and the role trauma can play in it.

ACCADA, a partner agency with Ashland MHRB,  provides free addiction awareness training. The program is designed specifically for workplace. Visit our Employee Training page to learn more about this and other training opportunities.  

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Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County

1605 CR 1095, Ashland, OH 44805
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