Tackling drug use in your workplace

No matter what sort of workplace you run, misuse of drugsby employees is a real and persistent threat – and you may not even realisethat it’s an issue. From the impact it can have on productivity to the legal and safety dimensions, there are lots of ways that such drug use can cause trouble. But help is at hand. Here are some of the best ways to tackle this problem and protect your business or other organisation from the scourge of workplace drug problems.

Education and training

As an employer, you have a responsibility for your employees’ wellbeing. While what they do in their personal lives and well away from work is something you have no control over, you do have the chance to impact their lives positively during the time they are working. Running a drug awareness session during a lunch and learn is one way to do this, while sending a couple of employees on a relevant course is another.

While the major issue in this field is of course illegal substances, it’s worth remembering that alcohol is also a drug. If your workplace is one where regular heavy drinking events take place, for example, it may be worth reviewing this from time to time to ensure that the right balance between caution and fun is being struck.

Tackling the root cause

Some industries are known in particular for having a drug use problem among their workforces. From high-pressure restaurant environments to investment banks, there are lots of workplaces in which drug use has been documented as a particular response to a problem like stress. If this is the case in your workplace, it may well be worth thinking about whether or not you can take steps to tackle it. Long working hours may seem necessary, but if stress and tiredness, and associated substances used to manage themexist, then long days may be losing your teams more in productivity than they are worth.

Running drug tests

In some workplaces the solution is to set up a system of regular drug tests in order to deter workers from taking them,andalso to be sure that you’re not putting your business at risk. Drug testing services are perhaps best suited to environments in which drug use could pose major safety threats (including haulage), although they are often used in a range of workplaces. You do have to be somewhat careful here: employees have the right to refuse to participate in a drugs test, although if you have a clear and demonstrable reason to do it then you may be a good position to launch disciplinary proceedings if they persist in saying no.

If you’re under the impression that there isillegal drug use going on in your workplace, there’s at least some good news at hand – which is that you can take all sorts of steps to tackle the issue. From organising staff-wide drug tests as both a discovery method and a deterrent, to ensuring that any underlying problems are addressed, there’s a lot you can do.

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