We’ve discussed the seriousness of drug and alcohol abuse at work in previous blog posts: it is well known that being affected by such substances at the workplace can have very serious consequences on employees’ health, safety, and performance. Today, we’d like to explore how much of an issue drug and alcohol abuse at work is currently, how it has been affected by recent socioeconomic factors, and what you can do as an employer to protect your business and workforce.
Substance Abuse and the Cost of Living Crisis
According to an article published by ITV News, the UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT) report that the number of calls they’ve been receiving at their Runcorn Oasis centre in recent months is ‘the worst’ they’ve experienced within the last two years, and staff seem to think the cost of living crisis is to blame.
The manager of the centre, Faith Noone, says that the number of enquiries keeps getting higher despite initial expectations of ‘the cost side of things’ to discourage people from seeking help. According to her, a lot of people are using alcohol and drugs at the moment as a way to escape the reality of current living conditions becoming increasingly challenging to cope with.
The idea of the cost-of-living crisis increasing drug and alcohol abuse in the UK is further backed up by a YouGov poll commissioned by addiction charity The Forward Trust. As indicated by the poll, nearly 32% (or one third) of 2,191 adults who were interviewed stated that they had either relapsed back into addiction or knew someone who had. Most individuals reporting relapse considered the cost of living crisis as the most significant factor affecting anxiety, stress, and trauma levels (61%).
Social Issues Are Workplace Issues
Clearly, the socioeconomic hardships many people in the UK are currently going through are having an adverse effect when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction. But what makes this a workplace issue?
Workplaces are reflections of local communities, and when communities are struggling, this is inevitably reflected by people’s work performance and behaviour. This is why drug and alcohol abuse is a workplace issue as much as it is a social issue. According to research, 17% of the UK workforce is made up of ‘illicit drug users’ and every year, 3 million of these workers come to work under the influence of various substances such as opiates and narcotics.
Keeping the abovementioned recent alcohol and drug abuse tendencies into consideration, it is perhaps safe to say that these numbers might currently be even higher.
Meduc8ion’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Training Course
With the growing issue of substance abuse and misuse, businesses are in need of adequate drug & alcohol policies now more than ever. A drug & alcohol policy can allow employers to perform regular or with-cause testing in case there is suspected drug or alcohol abuse at the workplace.
Having the ability to do that not only helps employers improve work performance and keep employees safe while at work, but also enables them to provide individuals struggling with addiction with adequate assistance and resources.
Meduc8ion’s Drug & Alcohol Training Course has been designed for managers and supervisors who are required to perform drug & alcohol testing at the workplace. Our training program includes a demonstration on a range of testing kits, including tamper proof key cups, urine laboratory collection kits, oral cubes, and oral fluid workplace laboratory collection kits.
In addition to demonstrating and teaching you how to perform the various types of tests, our course informs you of the patterns of behaviour that might indicate drug and/or alcohol abuse and prepares you for the next steps you would need to take in case there is a positive result. Furthermore, we are able to help you with creating your own Drug and Alcohol Policy in case you don’t have one in place as of yet.