You expect the best from your employees, and you want your workplace to be a space that is safe and productive. Unfortunately, substance abuse issues can make all of these hopes difficult to realize. By screening your employees for substance abuse issues, you can avoid some serious problems.

Decreased Productivity

Substance abuse issues can cost your business in lost productivity. People with these issues are more likely to arrive late or to miss work entirely. This makes them unreliable employees, forcing others to make up for their lost time. If they arrive at work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even the time spent in the workplace will be less productive. You may need to spend time in direct supervision and take extra time to correct careless mistakes.

Binge Drinking is on the Rise

Alcohol addiction can take many forms. It can be a constant problem, with the alcoholic sneaking drinks throughout the day. It can also be subtler, in which the alcoholic is sober through the day but binges after work or on the weekends. Binge drinking has become the most widespread form of alcohol abuse in the United States. 15% of U.S. adults admit to binge drinking within the past month. This form of alcoholism can lead to missed days and late arrivals as the employee slowly gets over the effects of the previous night’s drinking.


Addicted Employees Hurt Your Reputation

Employees with substance abuse issues can hurt your business’ reputation in the community. A drug addiction may mean that someone is bringing illegal substances to your workplace. If the police arrest that person at or near your office, your business will be listed on the public news of arrests. Employees with drug abuse problems may also mean that there are drug dealers coming to your area. If there are safety issues, customers will quickly learn to stay away from your business.

Safety First

People who are operating under the influence can pose safety concerns to other employees. For example, if your business involves heavy machinery, an employee whose reaction time is slowed by drugs may do damage to inventory, structures, or other workers. In these days of opioid addiction, another safety concern is used needles left around your workplace or in restrooms. It will not take long before substance abuse-related safety incidents cause an increase in your liability insurance costs.


Employee Theft May Increase

A substance addiction is an expensive habit. Many who are addicted spend all their money getting the substances that make them feel good. When they run out of money, these individuals become more desperate. It is not unusual for businesses to experience embezzlement or other forms of theft as addicts seek to find more funds. Petty cash disappears. Office equipment goes missing. If the employee has access to other, more important funds, the entire business can be brought to a standstill.


Substance abuse in the workplace can have serious consequences for your business. You may feel bad for your employee who is addicted, but you also have a responsibility to the operation of your business. Holding mandatory pre-employment screenings for substance abuse and other problems is a helpful way to avoid surprises down the road.

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