What To Do If You Suspect Your Colleague Is Taking Drugs

Did you know that Australia loses an estimated $6 billion per year in productivity due to alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace?

This according to research published by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Australia.

If you think that this is something that you shouldn’t worry about — think again.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, one in ten workers have had negative experiences with co-workers taking drugs. These include being prevented from doing their job, always covering for their co-worker, and experiencing minor to major accidents at work.

Every worker should still feel safe in their working environment. Rampant drug use in the workplace robs employees of the chance to feel safe, and thereby affects their productivity.

Is my co-worker using illicit drugs?

Things to look out for are:

  • Frequent absences
  • A negative disposition or having a bleak outlook in life
  • Lack of focus and productivity
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • The need to sleep at work
  • Not eating well or a lack of appetite
  • A frequency of accidents and mishaps
  • Requesting for worker’s compensation much more than the average employee
  • Involvement in workplace fatalities

Look for the physical signs of drug abuse

Some of the signs and symptoms of drug abuse are:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sudden and drastic weight gain or weight loss
  • A gaunt and tired appearance
  • Slurred speech patterns
  • Highly irritable
  • Frequent drowsiness
  • Changes in personal grooming habits; no regard for hygiene
  • Unusual body odour
  • Trembling
  • Excessive sweating

If your co-worker has more than two of the signs above, you have every right to be worried.

Sometimes, a colleague’s empathy and concern go a long way. Remember that you are dealing with someone’s livelihood and reputation. This is a delicate matter that has to be dealt with using utmost confidentiality.

How to handle your suspicion?

1. Talk to our co-worker

If you choose to talk to your colleague, avoid being confrontational. You do not know what your co-worker is going through. There are many reasons why a person could show the above symptoms.

It’s best to start by asking them how they are and if they’re okay.

Always, always, come from a place of compassion and try to empathise with your co-worker. Make sure he or she knows that you are concerned for their well-being.

It could be that your co-worker has developed a poor way of handling stress and pressure. It could also be that he or she is having a very difficult time at home.

While a drug user may not admit to having a problem, it won’t hurt to reach out.

After speaking with your co-worker, it is probably time to alert human resources to the situation.

2. Talk to Human Resources

This is an unavoidable step to take when it comes to addressing your co-workers illicit drug use.

Drug addictions are a very serious and delicate matter. They are to be dealt with by a professional or trained personnel.

Human Resource personnel are well-trained to deal with a drug using employee. Chances are, they’ve handled this type of situation before and will know what to do.

3. Talk to their Supervisor

If reporting to Human Resources fails to yield any results, talk to your supervisor.

You should also refer to your company’s drug and alcohol policy. Ideally, there should be written guidelines for handling a drug using employee.

The best workplace policies include drug testing and training and education as part of their program.

In the event that your company does not have a workplace alcohol and drug policy, suggest to create an immediate action plan to assess the situation.

Sitting back and minding your own business is not the attitude you should be taking when dealing with a possible drug addicted colleague.

Every employee has a responsibility to maintain a positive and safe workplace where you all can thrive. Always take it upon yourself to take the necessary steps to prevent any untoward incidents at work.

Learn More

Contact us today for information on how we can keep your workplace safe from drug use and abuse.

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