Substance Abuse Among Business Professionals

Posted by Soberman's Contributor on January 13, 2020 at 10:07 AM


Many business professionals and executives suffer from alcoholism and/or drug addiction. This can cause problems in their career and in their organization. Those under the influence of alcohol or unprescribed medications become less productive, incur more injuries, and often an additional result in increased health insurance claims. Many companies face huge losses when employees’ substance abuse isn’t addressed. The economic and human resources impact from the challenges arising from issues around substance abuse, can range from safety to performance and negatively impact coworkers and family members.

Problems at the workplace

⦁ Coming to the office late and leaving early
⦁ Unavailable for days at a time
⦁ Low Productivity
⦁ Feeling sleepy while doing the job
⦁ Hangover
⦁ Unable to make decisions
⦁ Less efficient
⦁ Theft
⦁ Low morale
⦁ Interpersonal and interdepartmental communications
⦁ Lack of concentration

The cost of substance abuse

Studies have shown that approximately 9% of substance abusers and 10% of alcoholics have lost their jobs due to unproductivity. It’s a no-win situation for the professional or the company when their function is impaired due to hangovers, substance abuse on the job or they are just not showing up for work. The ripple effect can include an increase in insurance claims, as well as financial costs.

Workplace Environment and Culture

The workplace environment can be a contributor when substance abuse happens and go unseen. Here are some aspects to be more aware of:

⦁ The culture of the workplace may include drinking or taking drugs
⦁ Isolation in the workplace
⦁ Availability of drugs and alcohol

Part of the solution would be to write policies and procedures on the use of substances while at work, educate staff, and enforce with consequences and resources for help.

Let’s look at these factors in detail.

The culture of the workplace

Leadership determines the tone of the culture in the workplace. When the use of alcohol and drugs is either encouraged or ignored, the potential for challenges to occur are greater.

⦁ Isolation

Some professions and jobs can be isolating which, depending on the individual, can entice them to reach for the bottle or drug to help fill the void of other people or provide some temporary comfort. Isolation can be a result of:

⦁ The job is not challenging enough
⦁ Working conditions are out of control
⦁ Sexual harassment
⦁ Physical and verbal aggression
⦁ No respect in the workplace
⦁ Travel
⦁ Availability of drugs and alcohol

If drugs and alcohol are available on the job, it can become easier or more of temptation to use and abuse them. Depending on the business’s culture and supervision, whether it’s a hospital, legal firm, airline, and how easily the substance is available, can make it easy for the professional to engage in use of the substances and over time can become problematic. Addiction doesn’t happen in a bubble or only at home, it can seep into the duties and responsibilities of the professional while at work as a way to cope with stress, a loss of a business transaction or conflict. When varied work shifts are required, a professional may turn to alcohol or drugs to help them stay awake to do their job only to find at some point they may lose control, which may result in losing a job or business.

Policies on substance abuse

Every organization should have policies and procedures created, enforced and reviewed. Education to the staff on the policies of any substance use while on the job can help prevent challenges and increased insurance expenses. Some ways to help prevent substance use at work is:

Random drug testing

Organizations can randomly test employees which may help deter them from using at work.

Interviewing process

Be aware and informed while interviewing of certain language and questions the candidate may use.

The recovery program of choice for professionals and executives to recover from addictions is Soberman’s Estate. Soberman’s Estate is a confidential, discreet, licensed residential treatment center located 30 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona. Soberman’s Estate has developed an integrative addiction recovery program that effectively treats all addictions and underlying mental health issues. We understand the specific needs of the professional and executive, and if you or someone you know, is considering treatment for addiction, please call 480-595-2222 for a complimentary consultation and please visit

Topics: Addiction, Professional, Treatment, Recovery, Substance Abuse, Employment, Policy

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Soberman’s Estate’s blog has a primary goal to connect with those in need, support the recovery community, and provide inspiring articles, opinions, and research information to help others make the right decisions about treatment and help them reach their potential in recovery.

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