Health officials and substance abuse groups are reporting an epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic: an alarming increase in the use of alcohol, drugs and opioids.
Results of a new survey of 1,000 subjects report a state-by-state breakdown of the problem using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. It reports an overall increase in usage of 67% among people living in Washington State who are employed in business.
The largest part of the problem is alcohol use, followed by marijuana and opioids, in that order. An interactive chart to review the findings is here.
Rising unemployment from business shutdowns and the worry about becoming infected certainly are related to the temptation to use or abuse drugs in the false hope that it will help users or addicts cope with fear and anxiety. Companies must address the problem either with programs to help employees struggling with abuse or to recognize warning signs that an employee is struggling with addiction that could affect their reliability and productivity.
Washington Retail has some videos related to drug abuse in the workplace.
You can click here to learn signs of drug abuse in your workplace. Employers who suspect abuse should encourage addicted employees to ask for help or intervene if warning signs appear. SAMHSA is a resource that can help to point you in that direction.
Washington Retail employs Rick Means as Director of Safety & Education who can help with drawing up your company’s safety plan or suggest topics for safety meetings. Reach him at 360-200-6454 or [email protected]