Workplace Drugs, HR, And 2012: It’ll Be Fiendish.


Want to be a business partner, have a seat at the table in 2012? Be ready to deal with alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace in 2012 as one of the issues.  I know it’s not the sexiest HR topic, but I don’t think I’m smoking crack either. 

“Let me be clear about this: I don’t have a drug problem, I have a police problem.”  ~Keith Richards.

  • There’s big money to be had.  Studies have shown that alcohol and drug abuse cost the economy an estimated $246 billion. Nearly 73% of drug users in the U.S. are employed, which amounts to 6.7 million full-time employees and 1.6 million part-time employees.
  • Substance abuse was a problem before the economy tanked, and it appears that many have self-medicated to avoid the lost sense of self-worth associated with unemployment.  They’ll eventually return to work, but what will they bring with them?
  • The global war on drugs has failed according to a group of politicians and world leaders who recently released the following report.
  • The United States alone has more of its population imprisoned than any other country in the world and much of that is drug related.  We can’t afford to keep all these folks locked up, and non-violent offenders will be out in droves in 2012.
  • The push to legalize marijuana is gaining momentum, and it now has some federal level backing as Barney Frank & Ron Paul today introduced a bill that will let states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference.
  • Vicodin, Morphine, Percocet, Methadone, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Clonazpam, Alprazolam and Opana  are the sedative drugs of choice amongst many while  Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Desoxyn, ProCentra, and Vyvanse, as well as Benzedrine provide the stimulant.   Many firms test to the SAMHSA-5 which won’t catch some of these
  • Emerging drugs like bath salts are bad news; yes bath salts.  Nasty stuff.
  • This is continues to plague the professional worker as recently reported on by USA Today.
  • Older workers are not immune, and their bodies experience a much more rapid deterioration than those who are younger.  The Boomers still know how to party.
  • According to a recent study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 15% of U.S. workers, or 19.2 million workers, are under the influence of alcohol at least occasionally while on the job.

There are real dollars that can be brought to the bottom line in 2012 by getting ahead of this issue through awareness and planning in 2011.  There are a lot of people working, and otherwise that are hurting.  Being aware and communicating that awareness can be the first step in helping.

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Posted on September 16, 2011, in Talent Management and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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