The topic of drugs at work is a tricky one. It has been long debated how to deal with drugs in the workplace, and there are even policies and procedures that need to be followed when a worker presents with a drug addiction issue. If an employer fires you for drug use without at least trying to offer you some help in kicking the habit, you can sue them for unfair dismissal.
But the issue is far more complex than that. In the last few years, the number of 16-24-year-olds who had taken MDMA (Ecstasy) in the past 12 months had increased by 84%. It appears as if it has become more ‘normal’ to take drugs during work hours and over weekends, and more acceptable to talk about it. The question just remains: who do you discuss it with?
What Are the Politics About Drugs in the Workplace?
There are liberal workplaces, and then there are conservative workplaces. Then there are your colleagues who do drugs and those who do not. Furthermore, you will also find the exec who offers you coke at an office party and the manager who will frown on just the thought of drugs being passed around. What to do?
Sarah worked in an environment where the drug users were frowned on. She would never discuss her partying over weekends and was of the opinion that she hid her drug use well. In hindsight, she says that taking Mondays and Tuesdays off was probably a giveaway. It didn’t help that her Facebook presence also showed what she was up to over weekends. The senior management definitely didn’t approve, and she felt that the issue of drugs in the workplace was definitely a taboo subject.
Other people also found that discussing drug use at work led to a certain amount of awkwardness in the office. This is exacerbated when you end up using drugs together over the weekend, as Grace discovered. Although using drugs together can help form a bond between colleagues, it can also lead to some awkwardness when asked by other colleagues what you had been up to over the weekend. Grace knew that she would lose her job if a client ever caught her doing drugs and reported her to her manager. The one time that it did happen, she was lucky. The client himself was a drug user and did not report her. It was a close call and one that she did not care to repeat.
How Do You Spot Drug Use in The Workplace?
Taking Mondays off is a certain giveaway of a possible come-down from a weekend of drug use. Frequent absences and regular tardiness are also signs of possible come-downs from drug abuse. There are also performance and behavioural issues that could indicate drug use during or after work hours. It is difficult to broach the subject with an employee if your company does not have a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy for drug testing in the workplace and employee assistance programmes. It is even more difficult if the workplace is very conservative and talk of drugs and drug use are taboo topics.
In a liberal setting, it could also be difficult to address drug addiction if it is a commonly accepted practice to use drugs. It becomes more of an issue when the executives and managers even offer drugs to their juniors. Drug addiction is a huge problem, but if nobody sees it as a workplace issue, it becomes practically impossible to address.
Where Can You Get Help?
Middlegate offers advice and treatment for drug addiction as well as alcohol abuse. We are experts at identifying the signs and symptoms of drug addiction and offering practical help and advice on how to deal with the problem in a personal as well as a professional capacity. We have therapists and counsellors who can assist in the recovery process, from detoxification in a rehab facility to ongoing recovery maintenance after rehab. Middlegate is just a phone call away. Our friendly staff are ready, willing, and able to help. All you need to do is pick up the phone and ask for our expert assistance.