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Public Service Workers and Addiction

Posted on 11/02/18: Addiction Recovery \ Addiction Treatment
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The reflection of how common drug and alcohol use is in today’s society can be reflected in the workplace: a government study revealed that one in ten full-time U.S. workers has had a recent drug abuse problem.

Substance abuse is a very critical yet very common issue. It poses serious physical, mental, and social risks to the wellbeing of public service workers. Not only does it result in a significant decline in the workers’ performance, but also puts the public service sectors’ productivity at stake. Alcohol and drug abuse problems can cost a fortune to both the workers and the public service sectors given the possible loss of productivity, injury, and increased health insurance claims.

According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, the loss that businesses face due to the addiction problems of their workers reaches a total of about $100 billion per year.

As staggering as it is, this number does not include the pain and suffering the abusers themselves go through. Public service workers who drink and abuse drugs give way to deteriorating health and expensive medical problems as well as social issues that affect both employees and employers. Substance addiction does not only affect job performance but also threatens public safety and the abuser’s own safety as well.

Problems That May Arise in the Workplace

addiction among public servantsDrug abuse and addiction among public service workers can lead to a number of problems, including:

  • Low productivity levels
  • Absenteeism
  • Tardiness or sleepiness during the job hours
  • Hangover affecting work performance
  • Poor decision making
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
  • Loss of efficiency
  • Low morale of fellow workers
  • Illicit activities on duty, such as selling drugs to co-workers
  • Theft
  • Increased chances of having trouble with colleagues and/or supervisors
  • Failure to meet deadlines or focus on tasks at hand
  • High turnover rate
  • Accidents and even death
  • Failure to comply with the disciplinary rules and procedures

The Costs of Drug Abuse in the Workplace

The costs public service sectors have to deal with because of public service workers’ addiction can be measured in terms of the expense of injuries, absenteeism, health insurance claims, theft, low morale of workers, loss of productivity, and fatalities.

According to the National Clearinghouse of Alcohol and Drug Information, the public service workers who are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs are likely to:

  • Be less productive
  • Injure themselves or the people around
  • Take three times as many sick leaves
  • File five times as many worker’s compensation claims

The public service workers are ‘public’ employees who are responsible for providing satisfactory, trustworthy, and cost-effective services to the people so that they may enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. The rising concern of public service workers is a valid one: the workers employed in the public service sectors fail to realize the importance of what they do and how their addiction can ruin the foundation of a successful nation.

The bottom line is that alcohol and/or drug abuse and addiction among the public service workers can prove detrimental for both the workers’ health and financial stability and the public service sectors’ image and success.

Factors That May Encourage Substance Use Among Public Service Workers

The following factors may play an important role in cultivating a drug abuse culture.

1. Culture and Availability of Alcohol and Drugs
The culture of a public service sector decides whether drinking and drug use is acceptable and supported or frowned upon and inhibited.

If the workers normally drink during work hours and their lunch breaks are incomplete without alcohol, it raises a BIG question mark on the culture of the public service sector. With the act of drinking alcohol ingrained in the culture, the workers who do not drink at all may also start following the same footsteps.

That being said, it is not uncommon for drug users to pass on or try to sell drugs to their friends or people they know well. You must have heard of the saying. ‘One bad fish can spoil the whole pond’. It makes it easy to see how even a single worker who is addicted to drugs can badly influence the whole culture.

2. Peer Pressure
A worker who does not drink or take drugs may feel left out in a group of people who do. With the fear of jeopardizing their working relationships and the natural desire to gel in, it is not a surprise if they start drinking or taking drugs.

3. Supervisors’ Behaviors
Workers often look up to their supervisors as role models. Oftentimes, managers may be the culprits if they drink during workdays. Even if the manager does not drink or do drugs, it is important for them to know the company’s policies for drinking during work hours. If they do not maintain a strict level of supervision, the workers may indulge in drinking and drug abuse behaviors.

What Should Be Done?

All public service sectors SHOULD devise effective programs to address alcohol and drug problems of the workers. Only establishing a program is not the solution – it is critical to enforce all policies and procedures strictly.

All supervisors should be trained to develop an understanding of the policies, address workers’ addiction problems, and know the process of referring them to professional help.

In addition to this, worker education and awareness also play a critical role. More often than not, the best way to deal with addiction problems is to seek help from recovery centers for workers. Sober Living AZ is a renowned treatment center that offers exceptional services to transform even the worst of drug abusers into sober beings – for life! If you struggle with your addiction at work or any of your fellow workers is involved in substance abuse, it is time to call out for help.

Content for Sober Living Arizona by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment and technology. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media


If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact Sober Living of AZ now to get the help you need. Sober Living offers an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare. Call us now at 602-737-2458.

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