Drug abuse is a problem that affects every social and most age groups in the United States. Histories of children abusing alcohol and other drugs horrify readers, television talk shows focus on the destruction that drug abuse brings to families, and individuals recount their descent into the private hell that drug and alcohol abuse brings about. This research focuses on a drug abuse in the workplace (for the purposes of this research, "drug" includes alcohol).
The importance of minimizing drug abuse in the workplace is difficult to understate. Analysts estimate that drug abuse of illegal drugs (not including alcohol) is common in between 10 to 23 percent of all employees. These employees are subject to more accidents as a result of their abuse; these accidents, in turn, can result in injury or death to the abuser, and substantial material loss to the employer in question. In addition to these losses which are attributable directly to drug abuse, these employees also take an additional toll in the form of increased absences, higher insurance costs (due to increased use of the health care system), lower productivity and employee theft. The total cost to the nation's economy is estimated to be in the billions (Ligos 80).
There are two common strategies that businesses and other employers can use to counteract drug abuse. The first strategy involves working with current employees to eliminate the addiction. In this case, a once productive employee is given the support and assistance needed in order to overcome the addiction and return to the organization as a productive team member. The second strategy is to avoid hiring those individuals who already have established addictions. This generally involves drug testing and is a controversial strategy.
In uncovering an employee's abuse problem, co-workers and immediate supervisors are most likely to be the first to be aware of the problem. Absenteeism is a key indicator that...