Helping an Employee With an Alcohol or Drug Problem

Employee Alcohol Problem: Addiction in the workplace is a problem most employers will face at some point.

Approaching someone about an alcohol or drug problem is daunting for any manager or colleague. However, the sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner help can be found. The following steps will make the process easier for both manager and employee:

  • Learn what your responsibilities are as an employer
  • Early recognition – know the signs and symptoms of addiction;
  • Explain that addiction is a disease, not a moral weakness or a lack of willpower;
  • Early intervention – help at an early stage can save an employee’s health, family, and career. By the time alcoholism and drug addiction are visible in the office, it is already causing problems at home;
  • Persuasion – a flexible, caring approach. Begin by expressing concern and expect denial and defensiveness;
  • Present the facts – don’t say “I think you drink too much”, instead say “I smelled alcohol on your breath before the client meeting’;
  • Employees should be made aware of the effects their drug taking is having in the office, on their colleagues, and on the company;
  • Use leverage where possible – It may be necessary to say that continuing employment depends on the ability to resolve their problems. But that you will support them if they accept help;
  • Offer information and professional help – give them details of the Company Doctor, counsellor, or a nearby GP; gather contact details of different professional organisations or rehab clinics that can provide treatment;
  • Do not assume responsibility for the behaviour or tackle the problem – at the end of the day, they are the ones who have to face their addiction.

All employees should bear in mind that by ignoring the problem, it will only get worse.

Videos on Addiction in the Workplace

Addiction Guide for Managers

Company Culture and Addiction

Getting a Job After Addiction Rehab

Professional Support & Treatment

At Castle Craig we can help with:

  • Advice to organisations and management on how to approach alcohol and drug addiction issues at work;
  • Intervention;
  • Outpatient assessment of employees;
  • Specialised detox;
  • An intensive treatment programme is the fastest way to help an employee overcome addiction.

For further information please contact our Admissions Team, or complete the form below and we’ll be in touch soon to assist you further.

More on Addiction in the Workplace

What is a “functioning alcoholic”

How to help a colleague with an addiction

How to deal with addiction in the workplace

Responsibilities as an employer

Advice to organisations

Asking your boss for time off to attend rehab

Support for employers

Alcoholism at work

Cocaine – the invisible addiction

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