Problems directly related to alcohol and drug abuse cost American companies an estimated $81 billion and 500 million workdays annually. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to look the other way or be in denial about problems related to employee substance abuse, increasing problems and liabilities for both the employee and the company.
An organization can be in denial of a substance abuse problem as much as the individual. Companies may want to avoid an awkward conversation if they are not completely sure there is an issue (a bad mood could mean a million things). They might not want to further burden an employee already going through a tough time such as a divorce. Perhaps they simply don’t want to temporarily lose a top producer. Delaying is dangerous because the problem is allowed to quietly grow.
There are blatant and subtle signs of substance abuse. Blatant signs include blood-shot eyes, slurred speech, track marks or multiple bruises from falls. Subtle signs include rapid mood swings, irritability, restlessness, argumentativeness, deterioration of problem-solving skills, difficulty in mental focus and communicating clearly and overall discontent. These signs are often easier to ignore because they are subjective.