Too many people have an “It won’t happen to me” mentality when it comes to issues of serious substance abuse. However, chances are it can strike close to home: as many as one in every five Canadians will experience mental health or addiction problems in any given year, and 47,000 deaths in Canada are linked to substance abuse issues annually.
Families and friends are not the only ones who should be concerned about people with types of substance abuse, including alcohol abuse, weed addiction, or opiate dependency. Employers also need to be conscious of their workers’ well being, for the sake of workplace safety.
Substance abuse in the workplace often interferes with productivity levels as well as general company morale. It’s important to have a policy in place concerning substance abuse in the workplace before issues arise so that, if they do, you’ll be prepared to cope and help.
A company policy, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, should include:
- a statement of objectives and purposes
- a definition of the company’s views on substance abuse
- information regarding who can be covered by the company policy/program
- details about confidentiality for employees
- measures that have or will be taken concerning employee training in identifying substance abuse in the workplace
- measures that have or will be taken regarding educational outreach for a substance-free workplace
- details regarding how the company will assist chronic substance abusers
- information regarding how to deal with workers exhibiting impaired work functioning
- a statement regarding if or when drug testing may be conducted
- any disciplinary actions that may be taken
With these provisions in place, everyone in your company will be able to make smart decisions that abide by company policy when it comes to identifying substance abuse. It’s important for all employees, supervisors, and other staff members to be on the same page so that any issues can be dealt with swiftly, effectively, and respectfully.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to get a company policy in place. It may help save money — substance abuse costs the Canadian healthcare system $8 billion every year — but it may also help save a life.