Addictions in the Workplace

Proctor Hospital

The IIAR values the importance of providing information on recognizing, preventing and treating addiction in the workplace to employers and supervisors. Please review the information below.

For more information on Training and Education for the employer and supervisors, please contact Sandra Beecher, Corporate Services Clinician at 309-713-6658 or email her at

The most valuable resource of any company, large or small, is its people. Without healthy, productive, capable employees, no business can remain competitive and profitable.

Chemical dependency or compulsive addictions can dramatically affect an employee's ability to contribute to your company's success. In economic terms, an addiction can lead to a drop in productivity, reduced product quality, increased absenteeism, and higher health care costs. In human terms, an addiction can lead to failed marriages, broken homes, severe emotional problems, and even death. Depending on the nature of the individual's work, public safety can be jeopardized.

Because an addiction impacts every facet of a person's life, the problem must be addressed at many different levels, including the place of employment. The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Proctor Hospital allows employers to offer a comprehensive program of evaluation, treatment, counseling and support for employees and their families.

The IIAR was established in 1979 to help persons with chemical and/or behavioral addictions lead comfortable and productive lives without the use of mood-altering drugs or compulsive behaviors. We achieve this goal by providing a variety of medical and counseling services designed to help our patients, as well as their families and employers. Available care ranges from modern intensive medical treatment to preventive counseling.

Identifying addiction in the workplace

How much do you know about addiction in the workplace? The answers to some of these questions might surprise you.

1. The most frequently used drug in the US workplace today is:

a) Marijuana
b) Alcohol
c) Cocaine
d) Heroin

2. When a person is abusing drugs, the likelihood of him or her having an accident on the job:

a) Increases by two times
b) Does not increase
c) Increases by four times
d) Increases by ten times

3. According to law, any business in the US with a government contract of____or more must have a drug-free program in place.

a) $1,000,000
b) $25,000
c) $1,000
d) $10,000

4. Continued abuse of drugs on the job by an employee can cause:

a) Loss of family and friends
b) Loss of the job
c) Endangerment of other employees
d) Loss of personal health and possible death
e) All of the above

5. If an individual admits his or her drug problem to a supervisor, he or she will most likely:

a) Be fired on the spot
b) Be referred to an Employee Assistance Program
c) Be subject to instant arrest and incarceration
d) Not lose his or her job
e) b and d

6. According to the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace, what percentage of employees are in favor of their company's drug policy?

a) 82%
b) 50%
c) 13%
d) 100%

7. Drug abuse in the workplace affects everyone in what way?

a) Added stress in the workplace
b) Increased productivity
c) Increased risk of injury
d) Added job security
e) a and c

8. If a person decides to get help through an Employee Assistance Program, his or her problem will:

a) Be kept strictly confidential
b) Be shared with his or her supervisor and others in management
c) Probably lead to termination
d) Never be solved

9. Our nation's economy loses at least___a year to drug abuse.

a) $100,000
b) $7,500
c) $100 million
d) $100 billion

Click here for the answers to this quiz on addiction in the workplace.

Six possible symptoms of addiction in the workplace:

Change in work attendance or performance

  1. Alteration of personal appearance
  2. Mood swings or attitude changes
  3. Withdrawal from responsibility or associate contacts
  4. Unusual patterns of behavior
  5. Defensive attitude concerning the object of addiction

If you have reason to believe an employee is having a problem with alcohol or any drug, gambling or other compulsive behaviors, call an IIAR Team Member at 1-800-522-3784.

For more information on addiction in the workplace, click on the topics below: