The director of telemarketing operations at a financial services company looks out across his 3600 square foot call center on a typical Monday morning. “Look at all those empty chairs”, he laments. “It is sickly Monday and my partiers are taking their usual unscheduled day long break”. The problem of the “three day weekend” or absenteeism in general doesn’t just affect the manager in this setting. What about the other 80% of the work force who showed up? They are now burdened with additional duties while filling the vacancies that have temporarily developed.
With the challenge of recruiting qualified workers becoming more difficult all over the nation, the last thing American businesses can afford is to have major portions of its existing work force abusing drugs – on or off the job. The truth is that most employees do not engage in illicit drug use and most do not want to work side-by-side with drug abusers. A majority of employees are parents who are concerned about the effects of drug abuse on their children, now and in the future Actavis Promethazine Codeine For Sale . Given this profile of the typical American workers, it is clear that substance-abuse prevention can and should be viewed as a common concern of both employers and employees.
We interviewed one company that has recognized the true damage that drugs in the workplace causes and why it is still prevalent. Labwire, Inc. (www.labwire.com), a Houston, Texas based developer of online security solutions, began addressing what many medium and large size companies have consistently failed to address–the true cost effectiveness of their testing programs. “What stops companies from being effective about drug prevention in the workplace is the apparent cost to do so”, states Dexter Morris, President of the company. “What most companies don’t understand is the wasted cost of NOT using the latest in technology management in handling such issues,” he added.
Drug use in the workplace costs this country billions of dollars every year in lost productivity, increased health problems and workplace accidents, to say nothing of the problems it causes us at the federal and state level with associated family problems. Contrary to the typical portrayal of drug abusers, many apparently functional drug and alcohol abusers manage to hold down full or part-time jobs, masking their destructive problem from their employers. In fact, over seventy four percent of all current illegal drug and heavy alcohol * users hold down some type of job. *(Those drinking five or more drinks per occasion on five or more days in the 30 days preceding the survey). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 8 million Americans use some type of illegal substance.
The overall cost of illicit drug abuse is estimated to have been $160.7 billion in 2000, and 69 percent of these costs are from productivity losses due to drug-related illnesses and deaths. Reducing substance abuse positively impacts America’s economic landscape.
Medium businesses bear the greatest burden of substance abusers. Traditionally, larger employers participate in drug-free workplace practices. As a result, medium to large employers who do not have drug free workplace policies in place are – in essence – adversely selected against in terms of the employees that are left to hire. Another thing to note is that substance abusers will steer away from drug-free workplace companies. They will work for those businesses that don’t have a policy or a program and where there is no drug testing involved. Let’s face it, no abuser wants to be detected.
“The fact that medium and large size companies are at greatest risk is why we developed our web-based employee screening process. Any company can deploy this system inside of 30 days”, says Morris confidently. “In fact, we can train up to 100 human resource people on how to use our system in only 60 minutes online”.
Morris went on to say that just the cost of workers compensation claims can bury a company.
Drug-using employees are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents and five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim. Between thirty eight and fifty percent of all workers’ compensation claims are related to substance abuse per the National Council on Compensation Insurance.. Substance abusers are three times more likely to use medical benefits than other employees.
According to Edward Poole, president and COO of OHS Health and Safety Services Inc., in Costa Mesa, Calif., several government and private industry studies concluded that each drug user in the workplace “can cost an employer an average of $11,000-$13,000 annually.” Despite studies and surveys that indicate a significant number of substance abusers hold jobs and work while under the influence, Poole points out that many employers have an “it can’t happen here” attitude about substance abuse in the workplace. “Once they get in there and implement a policy and start testing employees, they’re usually very surprised by the results,” he says.
Many people want to legalize drugs to get rid of the horrific problem drugs create in our society. Some people wish to legalize marijuana for medical purposes although those areas, which have tried this have ended up with drug clubs and semi-legal underground of drug use emerging. Others want to legalize all drugs including crystal meth, cocaine, heroine and opium, which seems to many to be completely out of the question. One recent drug user came to an online think tank demanding that drugs be legalized and came prepared to back-up his suggestion as he stated:
“I have studied drug use and addiction and it seems obvious that the biggest problem with drugs is not their effects but the black market surrounding them. The association of various illicit drugs with crime and related social problems is largely due to the black market, and yes there are fewer problems in places where these drugs are legal. If these drugs were made legal they could be controlled better and there would be fewer accidental overdoses, and fewer consequences for the user and everyone else when addiction occurs.”
Of course in a think tank you can imagine that such a statement would not go unchallenged and it did not as another fellow think tank member confronted the anonymous posting of the drug user with this following statement:
“I see you have studied drug use and used drugs yourself and now wish to tell us of your experiences and you wish to convince us to legalize drugs? Although we see in many cities that there are constantly increases of those who need help to get off drugs and recently new forms of old drugs which are 10 times the potency. Thus killing your body and your brain ten times faster or even on the first shot. Yet you want all this available to anyone with inclination to try them? I see, interesting indeed.”
The fellow think tanker was referring to the new crystal meth being sold in San Diego, which has long term affects on the brain from only one use and can keep a person up for up to 20 days and cause them to stop eating and waste away. Maybe drugs should not be legalized after all, but good luck convincing a drug user of that. And also realize that by the way our legislature is voting these days and spending our taxpayer’s monies, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are on drugs too. Consider this in 2006.