It’s a billion-dollar habit that US businesses just can’t kick: addiction.
The mathematics are indisputable. In almost any office in America, the chances are good that one or more of your fellow employees, or someone you supervise or hired, has a drug or drinking problem.
“It is absolutely a huge problem in the workplace,” says Dr. Elizabeth Drew, medical director of Summit Behavioral Health, a drug addiction treatment center with multiple locations, which is based in Doylestown, Pa.
That’s because some 14.8 million Americans are users of illicit drugs, and the majority of these people with drug problems are gainfully employed, according to the US Department of Labor.
Their drug or drinking problems, the government says, translate into an $80 billion annual loss to the economy.
The problems of alcoholism and drug use can affect a business in many ways.
“Alcohol and drug use among employees and their family members can be an expensive problem for business and industry, with issues ranging from lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalitie and theft to low employee morale,” according to the New York-based National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD).