The abuse of illegal drugs, prescription medication, and recreational substances (such as alcohol) has become an epidemic that is sweeping across this country. It’s destroying the lives of addicts and their families regardless of social status, race, or financial situation, and there isn’t an easy fix. The best we can hope for is that people get help, which can, in part, involve a bit more awareness and policing on the part of your average joe or business owner.

Drug abuse, including alcohol abuse, affects many workplaces. That’s why so many businesses have turned to criminal background checks and drug tests to keep their employees and customers safe. But, what exactly are the effects of drug use in a professional work environment? It’s an important subject that we feel compelled to discuss, so let’s get started.

Lower Productivity

This will come as a shock to exactly zero people. Anyone who has ever been around a drug addict can attest that getting them to do something productive isn’t just a chore – it’s almost an impossibility. When you’re under the influence of any type of illegal drug, it’s almost like you’re in a different world entirely – which is a selling point, in a sense. This will greatly slow a person down and reduce his or her productivity. And this loss of productivity occurs whether the person is using drugs right before or during work, or if the effect is simply lingering from use the day or night before.

Higher Costs

If a drop in productivity doesn’t shake you up enough, perhaps the higher costs associated with that loss will do it. How about the increase of absenteeism due to drug use, which means that you have fewer workers available to do the job? This could lead to further complications, such as loss of potential business or contracts with suppliers due to your company’s inability to follow through on production and services. Plus, you’re looking at higher costs in terms of health care costs, workers’ compensation claims, legal liabilities, and even theft.

Decrease in Morale

It’s bad enough when you have an employee who isn’t operating at their best level or calls into work because they’re too high or drunk, but when it begins to affect other workers, then you have a much bigger problem on your hands. The bottom line is, responsible employees don’t like working with people who are abusing drugs. Working with drug users who are doing less work or are quick to be angered or annoyed, for instance, can bring everyone down. Even dealing with someone who looks disheveled or who hasn’t showered in a week because they were too busy getting high can cause severe problems.

Increase in Accidents

As we hinted above, drug abuse at your workplace can often translate to a rise in workers’ compensation claims. More to this point, drug use increases the likelihood of an accident or or injury. This can be caused by carelessness due to impairment or, in some cases, violence caused by the drug user being in a more agitated state than normal. In companies where dangerous equipment is used on a regular basis, these problems can turn into fatal ones if not addressed properly.

Drug abuse in the workplace can quickly spiral out of control if it isn’t nipped in the bud. Background checks and random drug tests are a great way to do your part in keeping employees and customers safe and sound. NationSearch offers several types of background and drug screenings to meet your business’s needs. Reach out to us and we’ll get you set up with the best services to help keep everyone involved with your company safe.