Substance Abuse in the Workplace Contemporary Social Problems and the Workplace SOC402 Instructor: Douglas Nelson October 4, 2012 Substance Abuse in the Workplace Substance abuse is a growing problem in the workplace. “Substance abuse is the repeated use of alcohol or drugs to the point that users develop personal problems and distress related to use. ” (Giraffe, 2011) I am going to discuss the major problems with substance abuse and outline some mind-boggling statistics.

Furthermore, I will relate substance abuse to a work environment I have been associated with and express the chaos I have witnessed from co-workers abusing illegal substances and over-using alcohol. I am going to analyze ways this problem can be possibly solved or at least prevented to a certain degree. If substance abuse is prevented, I have determined several social and economic benefits that may occur. I. The major problem with substance abuse 1.

Substance abuse in the workplace is extremely dangerous; the one abusing the substance increases not only their chances, but also increases the likeliness of their co-workers of injuries or possibly death depending on the situation. a. “Alcohol and drug abuse on the job is a serious issue for employers because it may cause lost productivity or dangerous conditions from mistakes, reduced efficiency, and increased absenteeism. ” (Giraffe, 2011) b. “Alcohol use, although legal, also significantly contributes to workplace substance abuse problems. (Giraffe, 2011) II. Substance abuse related to my work environment 1. I have had co-workers come into work hung-over and possibly still drunk, I have seen them hide in the bathroom and sleep for several hours. a. “Furthermore, substance abusers are not only less productive, but they also use three times the number of sick days and file five times the number of workers' compensation claims as nonabusers” (U. S. Department of Labor, 1999). b. “Substance abuse also leads to injuries” (Giraffe, 2011) III. Ways this problem can be decreased 1.

Although the problem is abundant in the work-center, there are possibly solutions to minimizing substance abusers at work. a. “In 2005, for example, an estimated 17 million people used illegal drugs and nearly 75% of them were employed” (U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2011) b. “The Department of Health and Human Services study reported that almost 9% of full-time workers reported heavy alcohol use within the past month. The vast majority of those were between 18 and 25 years old” (Larson, Eyerman, Foster, ; Gfroerer, 2007). c. OSHA provides employers with recommendations for substance abuse prevention programs, including the drug-free workplace policy. ” (Giraffe, 2011) d. “Training is an important component of a drug-free workplace to make sure supervisors understand how to enforce the policy without violating the law. Many companies offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) as part of their benefits package. EAPs provide individual counseling services and are a resource for referral to rehabilitation programs, medical services, or other therapeutic services. ” (Giraffe, 2011) e. This was followed by the Drug-Free Workplace Law of 1988, which has been amended several times to require federal contractors to actively promote a drug-free workplace and to have a substance abuse prevention policy in place” (Reagan, 1986). 2. Social benefits if prevented 1. The workplace will be a more socially accepted atmosphere is the problem was to be prevented. a. “According to a Department of Health and Human Services study, males are more likely than females to use illegal drugs, and employees with lower education levels are more likely to use drugs than those with college degrees” (Larson, Eyerman, Foster, ; Gfroerer, 2007). . Economic benefits if prevented 1. Companies will save a great deal of money if this problem were to be prevented. a. “can cause increases in health insurance costs” (Giraffe, 2011) b. “Estimates that the residual cost of substance abuse in the workplace is more than $80 billion in the United States. ” (U. S. Department of Labor, 1999) Substance abuse in the workplace is a problem that has been around for years, and it has yet to slow-down, however, I noted several ways the problem can be prevented.

I expressed why substance abuse is the extensive problem it is, and I related the problems I have seen inside my own work-center. If my solution to substance abuse in the work center is implemented, there will be many social and economic benefits. References Giraffe, V. (2011). Contemporary social problems and the workplace. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education,Inc. Retrieved from https://content. ashford. edu/books/AUSOC402. 11. 1 Larson, S. L. , Eyerman, J. , Foster, M. S. , ; Gfroerer, J. C. (2007, June). Worker substance use and workplace policies and programs (U.

D. Services, Producer). Retrieved from http://www. oas. samhsa. gov/work2k7/work. htm#6. 1 Reagan, R. (1986, September 15). Executive Order 12564 Drug-Free Workplace. Retrieved from http://uscode. house. gov/download/pls/41C10. txt U. S. Department of Labor. (1999). How does substance abuse impact the workplace? Retrieved from http://www. dol. gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/benefits. htm U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2011). Workplace substance abuse. Retrieved from http://www. osha. gov/SLTC/substanceabuse/index. html