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It should come as no surprise that substance abuse and the workplace don’t mix! An employee’s substance abuse affects not only the but can have serious impacts on the work environment. The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that drug abuse-related expenses cost employers $81 billion dollars annually. Further, a 2014 report released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated that 10.8 million full time employees have a substance use disorder. Luckily, there are programs in place, both at the federal and private level, which provide assistance for employees struggling with various issues that could impact their work.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

Employee Assistance Programs, or EAP’s, are voluntary programs set up by employers in an effort to help employees with personal problems. Most EAP’s provide counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees that are struggling. When an employee has an outside issue, such as substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems, or psychological disorders, these problems can affect not only their health and well-being, but also work performance and conduct on the job. Further, one employee’s problems can affect other employees, either by increasing their workload or creating a negative work environment. An employee that has substance abuse issues can cost an employer in terms of decreased productivity, increased liability of on-the-job injury, increased health care expenditures, legal liabilities, and as mentioned, possible detrimental effects on other employees. Therefore, it is usually in an employer’s best interest to provide these services to their employees. All federal agencies, as well as increasing numbers of private companies, are now offering these services to their employees.

If you think you may have a problem with substance abuse (or another issue that is impacting both your work and home life), contact your employer to find out if they offer an EAP.