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How to Address Substance Abuse Concerns With Employees

Heroin Addiction in Baltimore County

Substance abuse problems can take over the lives of those they effect, which means that the issue may carry over into the workplace. If you’re a manager who believes that an employee may have a substance abuse problem, it’s your obligation to address this concern both from the standpoint of the employer-employee relationship, and as a compassionate fellow human being. Dealing with substance abuse problems is never easy, but you can leverage your position both to bring up concerns you have and offer help. If you think an employee has a substance abuse problem, here are some steps you can take to address and correct the situation.

How to Address Substance Abuse Concerns With Employees


Take note of unusual behavior and poor performance and write down any instances you see. These problems may cause ripple effects that affect other employees, who may come to you as well. “Don’t ask other employees to report on the substance-abusing employee’s unsafe or inappropriate actions, as this may violate applicable laws regarding confidentiality.” Do talk to HR and legal counsel, and do your research as to what services are available to help the employee.


Call the employee in for a private conference and tell him or her that you believe they may have a substance abuse problem, providing evidence from your notes for support. Make them aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but also offer them a chance to improve. Hear their side of the story, but make sure they know that if there is no improvement, they may be terminated.


Make the employee of options that are available for treatment. “Offer time and assistance to aid in recovery. Know your obligations under state and federal law (including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act.”


Define your expectations for improvement explicitly in writing, and have the employee sign the document. Define unacceptable behavior, and potential consequences.


About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore, MD our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. To speak with someone at our office, please call us at 410-853-7691. You can also contact us via email, and follow us on FacebookGoogle+Twitter and LinkedIn.


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