Warning Signs of a Drug-Abusing Employee

As an enterprising entrepreneur you need to have the ability to spot people subtly. At times you find people present a chaotic mix up. I’m afraid you would find it hard to know something going amiss in your employee because of your everyday chores. Or it might be too late. Let’s be positive and make a clear thinking. If you ever suspect employees of substance abuse, find out what led you to such a notion? On close observation, you may find fall in performance, absenteeism, risky behavior, unusual physical signs, etc.

Declining work performance
Bodily and mentally fit employees are a boon to your organization because of their productivity. A healthy worker abides by the employee code of behavior set by the organization. However, everything goes awry once your employee’s overall performance declines. You might be shocked at such a drop in performance and would be prompted to take it seriously. The employee who was punctual is now a late-comer, and leaves earlier or remains absent for many days, takes long breaks for taking food, likes staying alone, cannot concentrate on work, makes wrong judgments. All this leads to severe drop in performance – a warning sign of substance abuse.

Increased and unexplained absenteeism
An employee stays absent from workplace in a day or during a shift and you do not get a convincing explanation for it. The employee fails to account for because his general disposition becomes unpredictable; may lie to the managers/supervisors and reply awkwardly; finds fault with others including spouse. Such unusual behavior should lead you to suspicion of drug abuse.

Engaged in risky behavior
Another sign is that the employee becomes highly irritable, disregards social manners in the amity of co-workers as well as at work; ignores safety norms; tends to be risky being reckless while at work and thus endangering life of all. He accuses coworkers and superiors for failure or difficulties at workplace.

Avoidance of co-workers
A substance abusing employee shuns co-workers. Puts excuses in case of failure on any count – be it work or home. This is because of the fact that the unusual changes might be noticed by others for which he feels embarrassed. General personal character becomes clumsy. It is a warning sign of substance abuse on the first sight as you find it completely different from what you had seen earlier.

Certain physical signs
Substance abusing employee suddenly starts quarreling, scolding and shouting at others. He ignores personal hygiene, dress code at workplace. There is drastic drop in body weight because of loss of appetite. There is change in the pupils – if the substance is an opiate (heroin, cocaine), the pupils shrink and if it were amphetamine they are dilated. Personal grooming is poor. He becomes tired as the effect of drug ceases.

Necessity of drug testing at workplace
You can’t afford to take it for granted if you notice these symptom(s). If you ignore, you expose the health of other employees as well as your business to great risk. It affects their work ethic and ultimately leads to decline in profitability of your enterprise. Strictly and constantly monitor your employees’ general and working behavior. As a matter of policy of the organization, make periodic substance check-up mandatory. This is a preventive step.

When you mark these sign(s), you need to be proactive. Consult your human resources managers and take the necessary steps immediately. This is critical as apart from impacting the performance of the individual employees; it is likely to bring out in its wake several legal, health, financial implications and a drop in the profitability and repute of your organization in the corporate world.