Substance abuse affecting the work place and working environment essay

Very many companies have suffered financially as a result of their employees engaging in substance abuse. For instance statistics indicate that United States organizations have lost close to 100 billion dollars in a year as a result of substance abuse. It has been scientifically proven that some substances or drugs are of higher risk as opposed to others. Most employers have devised ways to curb a growing culture of drug abuse at work by burning consumption of drugs at work while some have only allowed limited consumption at work parties or other official functions.

Employers have also come up with punitive measures for those who do not observe the policies (Donald. 2009). Extensive research has been carried out throughout the world to understand why human beings chose to use drugs to the extent that they are harmful to their wellbeing rendering them incapable to perform duties. From this studies, well thought out solutions have been derived to curb the culture of drug abuse at work.

However, despite collective rigorous efforts to create a responsible work environment, other factors such as stress have adversely contributed in undermining the efforts of creation of an anti-drug abuse environment (Reginald. 2010). It has been argued that the existence of a drug dependence society has robbed its people, a creative and hardworking manpower. Drugs that were used for medicinal purpose are now declared totally unfit for human consumption.

Given the complexity that comes with the demands and expectations of the modern times, people have now turned to such depressants to deal with personal conditions such as loss of family union and strenuous economy (Donald. 2009). An Overview of Substance Abuse A Substance drug is any thing that when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function, it is important to take caution that whenever such drugs are consumed they can impact the body chemicals positively or negatively.

The latter, are mostly referred by the society as illegal. However it begins by noting the connection of any drug and the human quest for satisfaction and fullness. In search for constant satisfaction, human being have fallen prey of such drugs and thus become addictive. The drugs that have been labeled ‘good’ have overtime proved to be equally hazardous, and they all kill slowly. Since they are addictive, misuse is very likely (Reginald. 2010).

It is absolutely incomprehensible how some drugs that were used for a purposeful and good cause dating back in the BC, are now declared to be hazardous. Drugs such as opium that were once championed as medicinal, particularly for treatment of some ailments as early as 1550BC are now used as depressants. Interestingly historians have declared that the reason people were hooked to using psychoactive drugs in the BC were because of reasons such as famine, desperation, fear, curiosity which are the main reasons that are forcing mankind to use these illegal drugs today.

In the Odyssey, Hommer alludes to “a special drug that banishes all care sorrows and ill humor” while the Greek used to worship God Apollo, the consultation to the oracle demand that they inject a drug such as henban. The most worldwide religious group which uses drug in the cause of worship is the Rastafarians. These are group of worshipers from Jamaica in the 20th Century. This peculiar worshipers claim that their inclination to smoke cannabis commonly known as ‘ganja’ (sacred grass) among its peers, has a biblical basis and fosters religious meditation (Escandon. 2006).

More often the substance users are incapable of telling if they are becoming addicted to the substance they are using. The first time a drug is taken, its taste is unpleasant but due to easy availability of the drugs and peer pressure, a second and even a third time is likely and before one knows it he or she is hooked, and thus dependency begins. One starts abusing these drugs. However, some drugs are displayed as quick problem solvers. These drugs are mainly classified as stimulants such as amphetamines which stimulate the central nervous system to speed up the functioning of the brain.

Ironically amphetamines was used as treatment for Parkinson disease, epilepsy, alcoholism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder (ADHD) until recently when they were declared harmful for human consumption. Depressants such as opium are used to suppress the activities of the central nervous system, thus tending to reduce tension, and clear up depressed moods (Donald. 2009). Hallucinogens such as LCDs, Peyote, Marijuana, and Hashish are used for purposes of causing hallucinations. Users tend to feel an altered perception of what is going on, and get lost in their own fantasized world of satisfaction.

Inhalants such as glue and toluene (found in paint thinners) which are combination of depressants and hallucinogenic distracts the user from the true reality, and temporarily puts them in a mode of drifting through life. Steroids which are mostly used by athletes and body builders strengthen and increase muscles. The after effects of this drug use have triggered formation of anti-drug campaigns at work places which are shedding light on the harmful effects of their uses. Such effects include Relaxation, hilarity, drowsiness, hallucination, intellectual difficulties and tachycardia among others (Escandon.

2006). Such feelings as relaxation and satisfaction are so good that they supersede intellectual difficulties. Users in most cases will experience cognitive dissonance while trying to make hard choices of taking the narrow and long road of having to consciously face the difficulties that the modernization bring against the magical and prompt solution that the drugs provide. In the event constant use of the drugs generates physical addiction, causing body to need a dose, in order to maintain its balance and biochemical functions.

If the drug needed or craved for is not available, the body develops physical or psychological symptoms depending on the drug used. These symptoms are mainly headaches, nausea, discomfort, intense, despair, and aggression against oneself/surrounding. The drug addict being in this desperate situation, he/she will take desperate measure to get out of this ‘hell’. Therefore, he/she will cheat, steal, rob, sell their body, to get hold of the drug which in the long run affects production at workplace (Regina. 1998).

The anti-drug organizations have therefore started employing counselors at work places to proper preach alternative solutions to handling stress and finding happiness. Even though most companies have structured punitive measures to reduce the rate of drug use and abuse at work, These regulations have proved to be boring and restrict as people tend to think that the secret must lie in the forbidden, as in peoples thinking drugs promise to set us free from routine, take us away from reality through immediate gratification they promise to fulfill our void (Regina.

1998). Effects of Substance Abuse on Work Substance abuse lead to employees missing work therefore eating into the employers time and money. The substance abuse has a negative effect on both the employee and the employer as it could lead to low production, injuries, and it also increases health risks which the employer has to take care of in terms of paying high insurance. According to official reports in the United States most people who abuse substances are less productive, unhealthy and so thy tend to take sick offs than people who do not abuse substances.

Also since they are not stable mentally, they are more prone to accidents and therefore file a workers compensation claim often as opposed to steady people which is an unnecessary expense to the employer. A survey was done that revealed that at least 10% of people who miss to go to work are substance users (Lowinson. 2005). Addiction to use of substance requires sustainability. As a result the employee uses most of his/her money on sustaining the expensive habit. Should the employee not afford to sustain the habit she/he is most likely to start stealing in order to maintain the lifestyle.

Remedy Most employers have established intensive programmes to ensue a ‘win-win’ environment for both the employee and the employer. Some employers take the abusers for rehabilitation instead of victimizing or stigmatizing them. As a result the employee feels valued. Some employers hold in house training on the effects of abusing these substances to create awareness and initiate behavioral change. United States Department of Labour has recorded that working people use drugs and to some extend abuse them. The workers are also said to carry their problems which they experience at home with them.

For instance USA recorded 17. 2 million drug users in 2005, 78% of whom were working people. Research has also indicated that most companies who have high rate of drug use, also experience high rate of work injuries especially in the areas such as manufacturing and construction (Mark. 2008). The US Labour office has therefore come up with programmes to encourage drug free environment in order to avoid injuries at work places and also discourage absenteeism at work which in turn as a measure of creating a strong economic base for America.

The labour office has done this by educating employees, designing policies that prohibit drug use at work places, and also encouraging employees to initiate behavioural change and treat employees under substance abuse if need be and provide supportive services such as counseling (Lowinson. 2005). Conclusion A drug free policy at work inevitable in the current financial focused companies. This is because abuse of substances lead to economic loss and endangering of employees physical and emotional health. Designing a drug free at work place would prevent these losses and also enhance good workmanship.


Escandon. R. & Galvez. C. (2006). Freedom from Addiction. 2nd Ed. Talleres Graficos Penalara The Journal of the American Medical Association Vol. 279 No. 15 April 15, 1998. Donald. K & Nancy G. O’Neill. (2009). Work place drug abuse and aids. New York: West Port, Connecticut. Mark. A. De Bernardo. (2008). Drug abuse in the work place: Prevention. California: University of California. Lowinson. J. (2005). Substance Abuse at Work. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Regina. A. (1998). Substance Abuse: Preventive and Treatment: New York: Chelsea House Publishers. Reginald. L. (2010). Substance abuse in the workplace. New York: SAGE.