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      Sober Nation

      Putting Recovery On The Map

      04-07-16 | By

      Understanding Employee Assistance Programs and How They Can Help Those Struggling With Addiction In the Workplace

      What is an EAP

      When a person is in the grips of a major substance abuse issue, we measure its total devastating impacts it has on the user, their family and friends and other important people in their lives. There is no doubt that addiction is a family issue, but the effects of drug and alcohol abuse are far-reaching, and and individual’s substance abuse issues creates a ripple effect that spreads out to the community at large.

      An excellent example of the widespread effects of drug abuse in the community can be seen in the workplace. Addiction hurts businesses large and small, and there have been numerous studies proving that drug abuse is hurting American businesses. In order to reduce the negative impact of drug abuse in the workplace and reduce the staggering costs associated with this type of abuse, an increasing number of employers are adopting critical employment treatment assistance programs to give those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction the resources and support they need to adequately address their substance abuse issues.

      Defining Employee Treatment Assistance Programs

      Commonly known as employee assistance programs (EAP), employee treatment assistance programs have been created and instituted in order to resolve an employee’s short-term problems and offer them valuable resources and additional help for their longer reaching issues that impact their lives. These EAP programs offer such essential services such as counseling, referrals and resources for both managers and employees in a wide range of areas. These areas include substance abuse problems and other related issues including workplace relations, financial issues, legal consequences and behavioral issues.

      What is the Cost of Drug Addiction in the Workplace?

      What exactly is the impacts of drug and alcohol addiction in the workplace? The statistics may shock you.

      According to statistics provided by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD), drug abuse costs employers $81 billion a year as the result of poor work performance, low productivity, as well as accidents in the workplace. Further statistics provided by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD) also show that 70 percent of the nearly 15 million people who use illegal drugs in the United States are currently employed.

      Additionally, substance abuse also hurts employeres in regards to employee turnover and the resulting costs of hiring and training new employees. It is estimated that the cost of replacing an employee can range from 25% to almost 200% of the employee’s annual compensation. These costs don’t factor in the loss of job knowledge, disruptions to productivity, and the significant damage it can do to co-worker productivity and employee morale. Additionally, drug and alcohol addiction in the workplace also had negative impacts due to the risk of having dangerous or deadly accidents on the job. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of people who die at the workplace have a positive test for drugs and/or alcohol.

      Benefits of  Employee Treatment Assistance Programs In The Workplace

      Employers who feature employee assistance programs do so as part of an overall wellness program, and they provide numerous benefits to those who are struggling with substance abuse and other related issues. The following are the major benefits of EAP programs:

      Total Confidentiality

      First and most importantly, employee treatment assistance programs allow those who are dealing with drug and alcohol addiction a safe environment to discuss sensitive issues such as substance abuse with total confidence. When and employee utilizes the EAP program, the employer is not notified, and as a result the employee utilizing this service doesn’t have to worry about endangering their job status or a receiving other forms of discrimination or other stigma that could hinder their job or career.

      Immediate Assistance

      Employees who use an employee treatment assistance program has access to a specially dedicated hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event that an employee needs to make an appointment, they can arrange to meet with a medical or addiction professional within a short time frame–usually within a few days. Not only can someone receive immediate assistance if the need arises, they can call the hotline from any phone and don’t have to dial the number from a work phone which further ensures confidentiality and privacy.

      Avoids Conflict and Escalation

      When problems such as substance abuse arise in the workplace, it can create a potentially volatile situation in which tensions rise and can result in a workplace incident. With an employee assistance program available, people can contact a trusted professional in the early stages of their specific problem. As a result, they can get the resources and support they need to resolve any immediate issues and provide meaningful help to deal with problems that could present issues down the road.

      Access to Essential Resources

      A person’s substance abuse is often the result of stressors outside the workplace. Many assistance programs offer employees help in a variety of areas that can impact their job performance. From marital problems and financial strain to the death of a loved one, employee assistance programs provide an outlet for employees to resolve these issues in a proactive manner.

      The Most Important Benefit…

      Most importantly, employee treatment assistance programs benefit the employers themselves. EAP programs can significantly reduce absenteeism and can have a positive impact on employee turnover. These programs also can help reduce the overall cost of insurance and it can provide businesses a springboard to institute a variety of wellness programs that can improve employee health and improve morale. Additionally, these programs can be offered on a face-to-face basis, as well as through the telephone and the internet.


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