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Are Drugs Affecting Your Work?

Mar 13, 2008
"Do you have a drug problem?" is a question most people answer one way: "No." But the reality is a lot of people in society do have problems with drugs, and are either in denial, or simply do not realize it.

Many people with drug problems are not unemployed, are not involved in crime, do not dress down, and don't hang around street corners looking for their next hit. In reality, many drug users manage to hold down good jobs, have a family, and live relatively normal lives. For them, drug addiction is someone else's problem.

From Recreation to Addiction

Many people view drug taking as a recreational activity, perhaps abusing drugs only on the weekend, or in the evening to help them wind down after a hard day at work. Just as there are millions of people who enjoy an alcoholic drink, there are as many lighting up a joint or swallowing a pill.

But at what point does this casual drug abuse become a life threatening problem? At what point can someone in this situation be classed a drug addict, and be in need of help?

It may very well be the case that one of your co-workers has a problem with drugs and is unaware of it. It might be the girl sitting at the next desk, the man working the production line machinery, or even the woman who works in the canteen. It could be you. All of these people need help and advice in the same way serious drug abusers or alcoholics do.

Drug Policies in the Workplace

Many companies now operate a drug policy, recognizing that drug abuse is an area of health and social concern, and that an employee who develops a problem with drugs can have a detrimental effect on the business, if the problem is kept hidden and left untreated.

Drug policies are designed to encourage people with problems to recognize they need help, and ensure they feel comfortable approaching their employers without fear of retribution. A good drug policy will help a person get his problem under control, so he can return to work fully engaged in his job.

A drug policy will also cover drug use or sale in the workplace, or when an employee is deemed unfit to work because of his addiction. In these instances, dismissal may be a consideration, but more companies are introducing drug tests at the interview stage, as well as random testing on an annual basis, in order to protect themselves, as well as their employees.

But for those employees with a drug problem that genuinely seek help and advice, it can often be found within the boundaries of the modern workplace, and a good drug policy.


It is important to remember the shift from using drugs recreationally to addiction can be a slippery slope for most users. Even if a user thinks he does not have a long term problem with drugs, occasional use can often result in significant health and mental problems later in life.

When most people try drugs for the first time, they do not enjoy it, and it requires an amount of 'practice' before addiction takes hold. For example, it takes around three months of daily use to become physically addicted to heroin. It is for this reason that heroin causes mental addiction to occur before physical dependence.

Drugs like cannabis do not make the user want to take other drugs in the natural progression of use. In most cases it is a dealer who convinces users to move on to other drugs, usually drugs that are more addictive, and therefore more expensive.

In this case, no natural progression occurs, only external influences or the desire to take more and different drugs. So if you think drugs are causing problems for you, seek help now. It is best to deal with addiction problems as early as possible before they cost the loss of your employment, your family, or worse.

Might I Have A Problem?

Because of the availability of illegal drugs, and the manner in which drugs affect people in different ways, it is not always possible to tell if drugs are being abused.

If you think you may have crossed the line from recreation into addiction, or you feel that drugs are beginning to impair your performance at work or in your personal life, ask yourself the following question, remembering that it is important to be entirely honest with yourself when you answer it: Have drugs ever caused you a problem?

Your answer could be related to a physical or mental problem, or perhaps to an odd event that "just wasn't you." If so, speak to your doctor, your manager, or a trusted friend. If you think you need clarification, the chances are good that you already need help in some form.

The CAGEID Questionnaire

The CAGEAID Questionnaire is based on four simple questions designed to get to the truth behind your suspected drug problem.

Ask yourself:

1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drug use (quantity/frequency)?

2. Have you ever felt annoyed at people criticizing your drug use?

3. Have you ever felt guilty about using drugs?

4. Have you ever used drugs first thing in the morning, or to get the day started?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you should seek help immediately.
About the Author
Colin Galbraith writes articles on drug treatment. For more information on the Narconon program, and the New Life Detoxification program, visit www.drugrehab.net. If you plan to reproduce this article, please include the link above.
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