How to Deal with Workplace Addiction

 Addiction at Work 

We spend a good amount of our life at work.  We deal with deadlines, stress and other issues which affect our emotions right there at our desk. Another issue you must be aware of like it or not is drug abuse at work. Do you know how to deal with workplace addiction? If not, we can help.

Gone are the days where the picture of an addict was a homeless guy under a bridge. No, it can be Peter the admin guy with the ‘Don’t talk to me until I have had a cuppa’ mug staring at you over the printer. In fact, studies show that around seven out of ten people suffering from an addiction have a job. Now look around at how many people you employ. More than 10? Guess what, you probably have an addict in your workplace. Now before you dash over to Peter and make him spill his coffee, there are a few things you need to know about how to deal with addiction in the workplace.

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Your employees’ addiction could be costing you money in a variety of ways.  Although they are working, a functioning addict is more than likely to be less productive than they should be. One of the main issues when figuring out how to deal with addiction in the workplace is the question of safety.  An employee with addiction is more than likely to suffer an injury while on the clock and you know that means health care and possibly lawsuits. Again, before turning into Donald Trump and shouting “You’re fired!” exercise a bit of restraint and perhaps consider helping your employee or colleague so they can recover and overcome the addiction and keep their job. That way they win, the business wins and you don’t add unemployment and addiction to the list of issues he or she has to tackle.

So how do you deal with  Addiction at Work?

Here are some tips and tricks to help you help an employee or colleague who is affected by substance abuse:


Create a list of rules and regulations which will govern the use of alcohol and drug use in the workplace. Educate your employees about the dangers of using substances at work. Enforce drug tests. NOTE:  You will need to give employees notice of these new policies before they come into force.


As a manager, when asking yourself “ How am I going to deal with Workplace Addiction all by myself?” stop and remember you have managers, use them! But first, train them up. I am sure you have a crack management team who are great at their jobs – how familiar are they when it comes to spotting the signs of addiction? Not great? Educate them then. If your managers are trained to spot the signs and detect addiction early it allows you to help employees and colleagues before this problem is allowed to advance.


Got your team trained to spot signs of addiction? Good. Now get them to keep records of any incidents which may be linked to addiction. That way, when it comes to confronting or approaching an employee there is more evidence that can help convince them that a problem does exist.


If you think you know someone who is suffering from an Addiction at Work, you must address it as fast as possible.  Do it privately, and don’t try and victimise the person in question. Feelings of embarrassment and shame could be felt by the person in question, so be gentle, kind and discreet. The outcome of the intervention is directly linked with the job they undertake. If they deal with people directly or handle heavy machinery you may need to move them out to a place less likely to impact the brand or harm them.


Look, just because you spoke to the employee in question about his or her Workplace Addiction it doesn’t mean that they are now substance-free and on their way. In almost 9 out of 10 cases of this nature, the person will require addiction treatment.  You can assist them by offering them guidance towards suitable treatment centres which offer programs suited to their individual needs.

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