What Your Human Resources Department Needs to Know About Addiction

Human Resources

Drug and alcohol addiction is a growing problem in the United States today, and it has been so for some time now.  This has been an ongoing crisis and worry the likes of which this nation has never seen before with more and more problems and issues coming up as a result of it.  I have seen this first hand, as I work within the drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation field.

I know for example that there are over twenty-three million Americans who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.  I know for example that there are a good half a million who become addicted newly each and every year.  I know for example that about eighty to one-hundred and twenty thousand Americans die every year because of drug and alcohol addiction.  I know for example that drug and alcohol abuse and addiction costs the nation about six-hundred billion dollars each and every year.  I know for example that about seventy percent of Americans have been affected by an addict at some point in their lives, fifty percent of Americans know someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol, and about thirty percent of Americans has a family member who is addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Because I know these things, and because I know how prevalent addiction is in this country, I know how common it is for businesses to have addicts hired on as employees.  In my businesses, I have made it a point for my HR department to know very thoroughly exactly what to look for in regards to addiction and substance abuse, and to know about addiction and to understand it very well.

How an HR Department Responds to Addiction

Even though I work in the field of drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation, any business absolutely needs to have a no tolerance policy on the subject of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.  It is simply too harmful from a business and economics standpoint when addiction is allowed in a business.  If your business has an addict working there, if you have not already been harmed in some way by that employee, you will be at some point.  That is just the simple truth of the matter.  Sooner or later, bad news will come about as a result of your connection with that addict and something bad will happen at your business because of it.

HR departments need to perform drug testing frequently.  HR departments need to extend themselves outwards into the ranks of employees and make sure that none of them are addicted to drugs and alcohol.  This is important for many reasons.

Drug and alcohol addicts will create drama in a business.  Drug and alcohol addicts will steal from a business.  Drug and alcohol addicts will harm and destroy capital and resources.  Drug and alcohol addicts will cause accidents and injuries in the workplace.  Drug and alcohol addicts will hurt themselves in the workplace.  Drug and alcohol addicts will miss work a lot, and will not be reliable.  Drug and alcohol addicts will sometimes die at the workplace.  Drug and alcohol addicts will get other employees hooked on drugs and alcohol.  Drug and alcohol addicts will scare customers away and cut profit margins down in size.  Drug and alcohol addicts will create issues and difficulties left and right.

All in all, I strongly encourage HR departments everywhere to do something about addiction in their various businesses.  If you have an addict who you want to keep because they are valuable or closely connected to the business, then help them address their addiction with rehabilitation.  But do not let them go on being an addict and an employee.

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