After COVID-19 emerged at the beginning of 2020, countless workers were unexpectedly compelled to work from home. Most of them would probably keep doing so for the foreseeable future as well. It is a condition that helps many people, but it also has a potentially hazardous impact on the others.

Mental health and addiction issues have increased. In some instances, severely, due to the epidemic. This includes the use of alcoholic beverages and other recreational substances throughout the workplace. The growing occurrence of drug addiction and the consequent mortality rate is a significant source of worry and severely needs some action. Colorado Counselor Training experts believe that training individuals for addiction counseling can have a huge impact in treating such employees and bringing the overall addiction rate down.

An Increasingly Serious Issue

Drug addiction is not a new problem, but chemical agents, including fentanyl, have exacerbated the problem, according to Pam Nabors, CEO of staffing company CareerSource Central Florida – collaborating with the Department of Labor to provide training to human resource professionals on how to deal with addiction issues among their employees.

Beginning in 2019, the city of Nabors saw an increase in overdose fatalities caused by synthetic fentanyl. She said it’s a really strong and frightening substance, and even a trace quantity of cyanide may be lethal.

At the peak of the epidemic, high unemployment combined with a rise in remote work produced a situation in which resources were unavailable, the employees didn’t understand how to get them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, mortality attributable to drug addiction hit an all-time high of 100,000 people between April 2020 and April 2021, a 12-month record high.

In addition, the addiction problem influences the capacity of firms to acquire and retain employees. Even if a worker may not be actively involved in addiction, the drug addiction of their roommate or a family member may harm the employee’s ability to perform their job duties.

Alarming Facts and Figures

As reported by the National Safety Council, 75% of companies have been directly affected by opioid-dependent employees, yet, only 17% of employers believe they are well equipped to deal with the problem.

Perhaps much more alarming are the facts on how and when workers use alcoholic beverages and recreational substances throughout their job.

Self-Medication Nation poll by Sierra Tucson Addiction Treatment Center had involved 1,011 workers from around the United States produced the following findings:

  1. One-quarter of those who answered the survey admitted to taking part in a professional conference call over Microsoft Teams or Zoom while under the effect of drugs or alcohol, marijuana, or other recreational substances at the time of the call.
  2. The survey found that one in every five respondents admitted to using alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs while working from home this year; and 73 percent of those who admitted to doing so said that if their company requires them to come back to work from the office, they will miss out on the possibility to use marijuana or other drugs even during their workday.
  3. Over a quarter of respondents said that one of the advantages of working remotely is using alcoholic beverages and other substances throughout the workday.

These depressing statistics indicate a crucial necessity for awareness of drug addiction among employees, understanding the issue and not stigmatizing it, communicating with the employees to empathize and cooperate, and bringing in more addiction counselors to help the employees.

What Is the Cause?

Employees are reluctant to seek treatment because of the persistent stigma associated with drug use disorders, which may be treated at clinics located around the country. It is not the same as a medical condition in which a worker would not hesitate to file paperwork under the Family and Medical Leave Act to enable them to take time off to seek treatment. People have varied perspectives when it comes to mental health and drug abuse diseases. Employees may be concerned about retaliatory action if they are treated differently or deemed unsuitable. As a result, they may internalize their guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment sentiments and become humiliated.

The most common reason for not getting treatment is a reluctance to acknowledge that they have a problem. Many people believe they can handle things on their own but that doing so is a dangerous route to go down.

In collaboration with managers and supervisors, human resources professionals may play a critical role in creating a culture and environment in which workers are more inclined to seek assistance when they are in need.

The Ultimate Solution

Providing emotional support and encouraging employees to be active in finding the support they require will only serve to increase employee loyalty and productivity. Organizations can help their employees cope with challenging times by creating a supportive environment and encouraging them. Confidently tell them that the organization is there to assist them in any way they need.

Employees ought to realize that they may call out confidentially and without fear of being judged if they have difficulty keeping their goals and feel like they need an expert or peer assistance. Companies must communicate to employees that they will not be facing anything alone and that stress, despair, and addiction difficulties are prevalent among many individuals at this time of year. It may be beneficial to talk about it and sometimes converse regarding situations they face, which can be a form of healing.

While all the mentioned steps are important, the most crucial one is incorporating addiction counseling. Colorado Counselor Training is one of the best institutions to train individuals to become expert addiction counselors and help employees and employers deal with drug addiction.

Our courses are intended to assist persons in gaining the knowledge, skills, and certification required to provide drug abuse counseling to those suffering from the consequences of substance abuse.