Drug and Alcohol Abuse Within Employees

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 6
Words: 2065
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: Bachelor

Due Date

Walmart Supercenter

7065 N Ingram Ave

Fresno, CA 93650

Dear Walmart:

The attached report, requested by you from July 7, describes how you can address the issue of drug and alcohol abuse to the employees from your company. I believe that you will find the results of this study very beneficial in expanding greater services for the employees. You will also implement a new policy to create a better experience for the workplace.

This research was designed to provide solutions or ideas to address the issues of drug and alcohol abuse:

  • By creating a policy against alcohol and drug use in the workplace.
  • Drug and alcohol testing policy that allows once they are involved in an accident and with reasonable suspicion.
  • Assist those suffering from addiction instead of terminating them from the workplace.

Secondary research includes credible online sources, books, online articles, and online PDFs. The results from this research will discuss more solutions to address these issues to help out employees. These solutions are important no matter what career or workplace anyone is working at. Without these solutions, we would not give employees to give a second chance to help them manage their addictions.

I appreciate your trust in entrusting me with the preparation of this detailed report.



NAME Student

Executive Summary

The purpose of this study is to establish that it is important to discuss alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace. For this reason, the research analyzes the negative impacts of abusing drugs and alcohol within the work environment. The paper finds that one of the causes of drug abuse is absenteeism, which impacts performance. The other impact of alcohol consumption is that it interferes with the productivity of the employee, their level of creativity causes chronic health issues, results in injuries, financial loss, high turnover, and poor relations among employees. Furthermore, the study examines different ways in which an employer can detect drug and alcohol abuse in the work environment. In this case, employers must understand their employees to ensure that they can detect changes in behavior. For instance, the study identifies different drastic changes in emotions as one of the ways of identifying drug abuse in the work environment. The paper concludes that it is important to discuss alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace. It proposes that organizations should provide stringent measures to combat the issue.


For the longest time now, alcoholism in the workplace has been an issue. According to Smook et al. (2018), in the United States, alcohol tops the list of the most abused and used drugs. Additionally, research states that about 14 percent of the total population in the United States are either alcoholics or abuse drugs (Smook et al., 2018). In addition to this, others engage in risky drinking behaviors, which may result in an individual being an alcoholic. Alcoholism can be defined as a chronic illness with environmental, psychological, and genetic factors influencing its manifestation and development. The illness is, in most cases, fatal and progressive and is characterized by denial, distortion in thinking, continuous usage of the drug despite its adverse outcomes, and overdrinking (Smook et al., 2018). In the workplace, alcohol abuse is a costly affair both to the organization and the individual. Even though employees find it uncomfortable to discuss the issue of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace, a company must address the problem.

Impacts of not Discussing Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the Workplace


Alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace increases the level of absenteeism among employees. Studies demonstrate that one of the effects of alcohol and drug abuse is absenteeism, which results from hangovers (Fernandes & Gherardi-Donato, 2017). In the work environment, employees who abuse drugs and alcohol have the most absenteeism rate compared to those who do not engage in drug abuse. In most cases, these workers create excuses to avoid coming to work. The reason for this is that these employees suffer from a group of displeasing symptoms and signs that occur after abusing a particular drug or after drinking too much. Therefore, to avoid going to work, the employee creates a false narrative. The impact of this is that it lowers the performance of the worker. In this case, the employee will have lost a lot of time when it comes to delivering on projects. As a result, this affects the entire organization since there would be low morale among other employees.

Reduced Productivity

Alcoholism and drug abuse in the workplace further reduce the productivity of an employee. Spicer and Miller (2016) state that alcohol usage affects brain cells and if one continues to abuse alcohol for a long time, it may impair their capacity to think creatively. For an organization to be successful, it requires innovative employees. The reason for this is that innovative employees help the organization develop new ideas for its products and services. As a result, the business will be able to control its market share, thereby gaining a competitive advantage over other organizations. When such organizations have employees who abuse drugs and alcohol, this goal may not be achievable. In this case, the organization will be dealing with both absenteeism and low productivity.

Health Issues

Drug and alcohol usage further causes health problems to employees. When an individual consumes excess alcohol for a long time, they may develop chronic illnesses. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), excessive alcohol consumption led to about 2.5 million years of life lost and roughly 94,000 deaths every year between 2011 and 2015 in America (Ghodse, 2017). Furthermore, the study states that excessive alcohol consumption was responsible for one in ten deaths among the population that was working. Most of these individuals die prematurely from chronic health-related issues. Additionally, drug and alcohol misuse may cause anxiety and depression among employees. Consequently, this will not only affect their productivity but also increase their rate of absenteeism due to frequent hospital visits.

Injuries at the Workplace

In the work environment, alcohol and drug abuse are further responsible for the accidents that occur. According to research, roughly 15 percent of patients in emergency rooms have alcohol in their bloodstream (Ghodse, 2017). Alcohol is known to impair judgment when an individual consumes it. When such a person is handling heavy machinery, there are higher chances that the person will cause an accident. In this case, the employee puts both his life and the life of other employees around at risk. Additionally, there are other powerful drugs taken for medical purposes and are prescribed by the doctor such as opioids. In such cases, the doctor often recommends some days off so that the employee can finish the dose. The employee is supposed to inform the organization that they are on such types of medication so that they could be given some days off. However, in some cases, these workers decide to go to work thereby putting others at risk of injuries.

Financial Loss

Despite the health, productivity, and injury risks, drug and alcohol abuse causes huge financial loss both to the economy, the individual, and the organization. According to studies, the economic costs of drinking excess alcohol were around $250 billion in 2015 (Spicer & Miller, 2016). Additionally, when an individual drinks over time, they develop chronic illnesses such as heart diseases and liver failure. These are very expensive to treat and an individual may struggle to maintain these conditions. As a result, they may start borrowing money and in the end, may the person may accrue huge amounts of debt. In the organizational situation, the company losses a lot of money due to employee absenteeism and low productivity rate. Furthermore, due to the high mortality rate among individuals abusing drugs and alcohol, there is a reduction of the available working-age adults. As a result, this affects the economy of the country and the financial stability of both the worker and the organization as a whole.

High Employee Turnover

Drug abuse and alcoholism are responsible for the high rate of employee turnover. In addition to the high costs of alcoholism, alcoholism and drug abuse are responsible for the high rate of unemployment. As mentioned earlier, excessive drinking and abuse of drugs such as opioids result in absenteeism due to hangovers. Moreover, substance abuse causes premature deaths and numerous disciplinary actions, which lead to an employee being fired. All these contribute to higher employee turnover. Additionally, due to high disciplinary action, an employee may decide to change jobs from time to time. Furthermore, drug abuse and excessive alcohol consumption interfere with an employee’s time management. In most cases, such employees often come to work late and as a result, submit their work or reports late. These factors increase pressure on employees who do not abuse drugs leading to fatigue and loss of morale at the workplace. All these impacts the individual and the organization negatively.

Poor Relationships

Alcohol and drug usage at the workplace not only affects the user, but also relationships among friends, families, and colleagues. A person who utilizes drugs possesses the characteristics of inappropriate, uneven, and irritable behavior. In most cases, these individuals cannot control their emotions and might be quarrelsome (Maree et al., 2016). Due to this behavior, they may become hostile towards their colleagues making it difficult to work with them. The other effect of not conducting training on drug abuse is that individuals who are under the influence often engage in theft. Since an employee is drinking excessively, they might not be able to sustain their habit. As a result, they steal from their employer to ensure that they can pay their debts.

Detecting Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace

Organizations can detect drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace through several measures. One of these measures includes observing employees’ time management habits. When an employee arrives late and does not provide a conclusive explanation concerning their lateness, this could be one of the signs of alcoholism. The other sign involves unexplained absences from a particular worker. In this case, they may not be present at their desks for long periods. Mood swings are another way an employer can tell whether an individual is abusing drugs whit at work. These people may experience drastic changes in behavior such as suddenly becoming angry. These unaccountable behaviors can be a sign that an employee is abusing alcohol and drugs at the workplace. The other method on how to detect drug abuse in the workplace involves the appearance of the person. Research states that individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol usually have poor professional appearance or hygiene (Evans, 2016). When an employer notices these characteristics on a person, the reason could most likely be that they are abusing drugs.


  • Drug abuse is the illegal utilization of or buying over-the-counter drugs or the use of prescription drugs for reasons other than what they were prescribed for or using these drugs in excess.
  • In an employment situation, it is important to create a drug-free environment through discussions regardless of how other employees feel.
  • The reason for this is that it helps employees overcome addiction, avoid health problems, retain their jobs, and create a safe working environment.
  • Furthermore, it helps in improving the economy of the country and improves organizational performance.
  • Organizations can also save costs related to workplace injuries due to reduced levels of alcohol abuse in the workplace.


  • Managers must carefully handle the issue of drug and alcohol use in the work environment.
  • They can do so by taking these issues to the human resource department where the issues can be documented. To ensure the issue is handled the HR can assemble a team, which will prepare a procedure that will be followed.
  • Afterward, the employer can meet with the employee and discuss the issue, and then set expectations. They can offer the employee help and the support they need to overcome the issue.
  • The business should formulate strict policies to control issues of drug abuse within the work environment.
  • Organizations must ensure that they screen and hire applicants without issues of drug abuse. In this case, the process should include drug testing policies for confirmation purposes.
  • Organizations must carry policies of health insurance for a worker that incorporates the coverage of substance abuse and mental health.
  • Organizations must formulate policies that are in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules and regulations.


Evans, R. (2016). Identifying alcohol or drug abuse in the workplace is beneficial to both employers and employees. Occupational Health Southern Africa, 22(2), 6.

Fernandes, F., & Gherardi-Donato, S. (2017). Is workplace stress a trigger for alcohol and drug abuse? Open Journal of Nursing, 07(03), 435-448.

Ghodse, H. (2017). Conversation with Hamid Ghodse. Addiction and the Making of Professional Careers, 133-139.

Maree, M., Lightfoot, E., & Ananias, J. A. (2016). A comprehensive alcohol and drug testing policy in the workplace as an intervention in the mining sector. Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, 120-126.

Smook, B., Ubbink, M., Ryke, E., & Strydom, H. (2018). Substance abuse and the workplace: A situation analysis. Social Work, 54(2).

Spicer, R. S., & Miller, T. R. (2016). The evaluation of a workplace program to prevent substance abuse: Challenges and findings. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 37(4), 329-343.