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The Impact of Addiction in the Workplace

addiction in the workplace

Substance addiction is a chronic, devastating disease. Not only does it affect the mind and body of a user, but it also pervades and infects all other aspects of his or her life. Its contagion is subtle. Before you know it, it can take over and conquer every priority in life that is most worth living for—health, love, success. One’s future, one’s potential, one’s career, can all fade out in a matter of months because of drug abuse. 

The problem is, most users today do not notice when life begins to slip through their fingers. Because addiction is a disease, those suffering do not realize when they begin to replace forward opportunities with the drug-using activity that sets them back. But that is where you, as a concerned loved one, can intervene. If you believe your son is using drugs or drinking excessively, act now. He may need professional help. As his drug use progresses, so will the physical, financial, social, and emotional consequences. Academic efforts will be wasted; his career path will be stunted. His prospect of success will be diminished. He may not see the negativity that drug use has provoked in his life just yet, but you can. You can keep addiction from defeating him, and all that he can be. 

Your son may say, “It’s not like I’m not going to work wasted,” or, “A couple hits of weed won’t affect my performance at school”. He may decide that it is okay to go out and binge drink on a Friday night, as long as he isn’t too hung over for work the next day. Yet drugs and alcohol affect the body even after use has stopped. Alcohol can linger in our system up to 48 hours; the THC in marijuana can inhabit the body multiple weeks after use. 

The prolonged stay of drugs and alcohol is both unruly and unwelcome. These substances are detrimental to the brain, and especially to the developing minds of young adults. Repeated use changes brain structure, and alters how information is processed within. The areas dedicated to memory, attention, judgment, and learning are dramatically impaired. As a result, those using drugs often have a harder time solving problems, concentrating on specific tasks, and performing essential day-to-day duties. It is no wonder, then, why substance abuse remains one of the leading causes of unemployment, high school, and college dropouts today. And each of these significantly impact one’s course of life moving forward. High school dropouts for example, earn about $289,820 less during their lifetime than a high school graduate. 

As addiction progresses, it simultaneously vanquishes one’s ability to maintain a sense of self-control. Their persistent need to obtain alcohol or drugs takes over. The brain begins to create cravings the person can’t ignore. The individual will begin to compulsively seek out the substance, and spend days acquiring the drug, using it, and later recovering from it. By devoting all of his time and efforts to drugs, a user will fail to fulfill major obligations at work, school, and/or home. Interpersonal problems will be exacerbated, and what were once priorities in a person’s life will be given up to the face of addiction. 

Addiction does not only have internal impairments. The outside repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse are equally as detrimental in the workplace. Those who abuse drugs or alcohol often call in sick when they feel too down, too hung over, or too unmotivated to do their jobs. As a result, they are often viewed as unreliable or unserious about their future.

There are over 22.4 million current illicit drug users in the United States today. Of those that are over the age of 18, 7 million are currently unemployed. This number may not carry weight at first, but think of the 70 percent of people regularly using illicit drugs who still go to work each day. By arriving intoxicated, they are putting their coworkers, their selves, and their jobs, at risk.  

Alcohol and drug use contributes to 60 percent of all sub-standard job performance and over 40 percent of all industrial accidents. According to the NCADD, 16 percent of emergency room patients injured at work have alcohol in their systems at the time of the accident. 11 percent of workplace fatalities can also be attributed to alcohol. 

Your teen may not want to admit that drugs and alcohol are affecting his work ethic or his priorities in life. But when it comes down to it, he will have to make the decision between substance use and success. Yes, the immediacy of drugs and alcohol may be providing him with a temporary escape from life’s struggles, or a fleeting relief from stress. In the end, though, it is not what makes a person happy. Substance abuse does not come with a paycheck nor pride. 

To learn more about the impact of drug addiction on young men in the workplace, read our infographic “Choose Your Path: Success or Substance Abuse” or call us at 877-581-1793. As a long-term drug treatment center, our team of professionals believes that each young man that enters Turnbridge will choose the right path to walk down. Through our phased Preparative Care program, he will be given the opportunity to emerge into the professional world at full force, and find purpose in his life once again. Our goal at Turnbridge is for our clients to rediscover their own goals, and chase after them. Only then will they fulfill a life beyond drugs, alcohol, and addiction.