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RecoveryPlus Workplace

Recovery Plus: Workplace wellbeing 12 September 2016 Research references: Click on the text in grey in this article – you will hyperlink to the full original articles. Addiction & recovery in the workplace “Boozy businessmen on the at-risk list for alcohol time bomb,” the Mirror wrote of a BMJ report last year, with the Daily Mail adding that “Middle class over-50s are most likely to drink to harmful levels”. How does this affect the organisations these executives work for? I could write that my interest in the answer is because alcohol, tobacco and other-drug use is the greatest preventable healthcare problem in business today, yet is too often expensively neglected. That is true. But what drives me to campaign for helping employers and employees is that I owe my life to the company I worked for in 1991. Its workplace policies and wonderful staff and HR department made me realise that recovery was possible – they even paid for me to go to rehab. I have been clean and sober ever since and helping others in turn repays my debt. The cost to companies of doing nothing. Consumption of illicit drugs and/or alcohol can lead to the following negative effects, all of which can have severe consequences for the career of the person involved, their colleagues and the success of the employing company: ÊÊ Increased rate of absences ÊÊ Fatalities and injuries – ILO estimated that up to 40% of accidents at work involve alcohol ÊÊ Health harms including cancers, liver and heart disease, diseases of the central nervous system (stroke, dementia), risky sexual behaviors with adverse pregnancy outcomes, and infants damaged with FASD/NAS; these health issues of course also impact negatively on work ÊÊ Loss of productivity - substance-abusing employees function at about 2/3rds of their capability, and employees who use drugs are 3 times more likely to be late for work ÊÊ Damaged customer relations ÊÊ Termination of employment – eg, illicit drug users are more than twice as likely (12.3%) than others (5.1%) to have changed employers 3 or more times in the past year ÊÊ Impaired judgment and decision-making ÊÊ Poor team morale and staff relations ÊÊ Unwanted legal complications. These add up to startling figures, as the panel on the facing page shows: in the UK, £7.3billion a year in lost productivity from alcohol alone. No figures for illicit drugs are easily available, but Public Health England estimates that drug use costs society £15.4billion a year. In the US, lost productivity amounts to $134billion from alcohol and $120billion from illicit drugs every year (see panel). Research is not widely available for prescribed drugs’ impact on the workplace, but the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that over 6.5million people used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in 2013. That’s more than cocaine (1.5 million), hallucinogens (1.3 million) and heroin (681,000) combined. In the UK, the number of long-term dependent painkiller users is estimated at over 1million. We will discuss this, plus solutions, in depth at the Recovery Plus: Workplace Wellbeing conference in November. The Countess of Sandwich will discuss prescription drugs. There is also the cost of lost productivity from colleagues of the person with the substance


RecoveryPlus Workplace
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