According to research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 10.8 million full-time workers have a substance abuse disorder.

Maybe you’re even struggling with addiction & substance abuse yourself and you’re not sure what to tell your employer.

Figuring out how to take that next step can be stressful, especially if you’re worried about losing your job. To learn how substance abuse and its treatment impact the workplace, make sure to keep reading.

1. Hiding Addiction Comes With Consequences

Whether you’re struggling with alcohol, drugs, or behavioral vices, addiction can talk hold and impact every facet of your life.

Often, those struggling with substance abuse will hide their addiction or minimize their substance use in front of peers. However, this can pose a major risk to employees and businesses alike.

An intoxicated employee is more accident-prone, leading to any number of disastrous situations like poor performance, injury, or even death.

As scary as talking with your employer about substance abuse in the workplace might be, you might just save a life — even if it’s your own.

2. Employees Should Ask About an EAP

Many larger companies offer what’s known as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is typically part of a company’s benefits package. These programs offer short-term counseling and advice and can offer a referral to a substance abuse treatment facility.

And don’t worry, it’s all confidential so there’s no risk to you.

With that said, companies aren’t required to participate in EAPs. You’ll need to check your benefits package to see whether your company currently participates in one of these programs.

3. Employers Should Work With an SAP

A substance abuse professional (SAP) is someone who specializes in the assessment of employees who fail their wellness screenings.

Some industries, such as the Department of Transportation, require an SAP consultation before allowing employees to go back to work. However, all industries can benefit from the help of an SAP.

Not only can an SAP evaluate how to help employees, but they can guide employers through the treatment process, making it a win-win for all parties involved. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this location.

4. The Law Is in Your Favor

One thing that may keep you from speaking to your employer about your substance abuse issues is fear of retaliation. If you’re in an at-will state, your employer can fire you at any time for anything with few exceptions.

There is good news, however.

If your company employs more than 50 people, you’re protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This law states that employers must allow employees to take time off in the event of a medical issue, including addiction treatment.

What Employees Should Know About Addiction & Substance Abuse Treatments

Addiction & substance abuse are serious issues. If left untreated, addiction can tear about your life.

No matter how nervous you are, it’s best to speak with your employer as soon as you can. Remember, the law is on your side here.

For more information about workplace safety, make sure to check back with our blog!

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