Substance Abuse in the Workplace: How Drug Abuse May Affect Employment and Opportunities


Substance abuse is a pervasive problem that affects all areas of one’s life. Professionally, drugs can hinder and eventually sink one’s efforts to either gain or maintain meaningful employment. People who abuse substances such as drugs and alcohol may not fully appreciate the negative impact that it has on their career and future opportunities until it’s too late. For that reason, it is important for substance abusers and their families to learn about the effects and consequences of drug abuse in the workplace. This knowledge can also help them to recognize how programs like those at White Sands Treatment Center can help.

When people abuse drugs, they use the substance to the point that it begins to interfere in their lives. Often, this interference spills from one’s personal life into their professional one, resulting in workplace problems that can threaten their continued employability, such as increased tardiness or absenteeism. Often, there is also an increase in on-the-job mistakes, and if people are under the influence of substances while in hazardous situations such as operating heavy machinery, there may also be an increase in accidents. Poor judgment or hampered reflexes due to substance abuse in the workplace can be costly for both the employee and the employer. Employers may lose money due to medical costs, workers’ compensation claims, loss of productivity and, depending on the type of job, lost accounts or the destruction of salable goods. Individuals who abuse drugs may cause disruptions to the flow of work, and there may be an increase in conflicts with coworkers, clients, or even the employer. Eventually, these problems can reach a point where the individual has become more of a liability than an asset. A person who is seen as a liability to any business may be passed over for raises or job promotions, and they run the risk of losing their income altogether due to termination. If someone is fired due to substance abuse, their reputation may precede them, making them an undesirable prospect to future employers.

When considering the impact of drug abuse in the workplace, one has to also consider how it affects their ability to get hired in the first place. Many employers require drug testing as a part of the hiring process, which automatically eliminates an addict’s chance of employment. A person who abuses drugs or any substance may miss out on job opportunities or fail interviews. For some people, mood disorders such as depression go hand in hand with substance abuse, and the inability to find work can worsen feelings of depression in these individuals. As a result, the substance abuse may increase, which further hinders their chances of finding employment or even stops them from looking for employment altogether.

If you or someone you care for has a problem, it’s important to get help before substance abuse in the workplace ends in termination. White Sands Treatment Center is an accredited facility with a professional and qualified staff of board-certified doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and nurses. We provide a number of programs, including dual diagnosis treatment. We provide our clients with individualized care and will create a customized plan to best meet your treatment needs. When you seek out counseling with us, you can trust that you are in a safe and private environment that’s dedicated to helping you remain sober and clean. Contact us¬†at any time, 24/7, to get started down the path of rehabilitation.