Even high-level industry executives can fall victim to addiction. People who have tiresome daily schedules and heavy workloads are more prone to substance abuse because of their need or desire to stay active, alert, and productive in the workplace.
After the notorious stock market crash in 2008, people quickly caught wind of the scope of drug abuse on wall street. Some of the most commonly abused “white-collar drugs” include:
- Xanax, used to relieve anxiety symptoms
- Zoloft, for treatment of depression and other mental disorders
- Marijuana, now legal in most of the United States, known for mild hallucinogenic and stimulant properties
- Provigil, to promote wakefulness
- Adderall, to prolong attention span
- Ritalin, to enhance focus
- Cocaine, for confidence and short-term bursts of energy
- Alcohol, a depressant known to instill feelings of relaxation
Professionals typically resort to drug abuse to either alleviate stress or remain efficient, which is especially true in high-stress environments like stock market exchanges or hospitals. The most commonly abused drugs can be broken down into two main categories:
Entrepreneurs and other ambitious workers will want to push their bodies to the limit. Stimulants like coffee and cocaine can be tried and true ways to achieve these effects, while prescription stimulants like Provigil, Adderall and Ritalin can be just as easy to obtain through a colleague or with a prescription.
Many corporate moguls would rather end their day with a relaxant of some sort, whether that be alcohol, or some kind of prescription medication like Xanax and Zoloft. It is not uncommon for high-level professionals to use these substances ahead of important meetings or conferences in order to eliminate any naturally-occurring stress or performance anxiety.
How to know if your coworker has a p
It can be challenging to work with or for someone who seems to be exhibiting signs of a drug addiction. Addiction in the workplace can be dangerous in rare circumstances where an addict might resort to corporate syphoning or theft of other workers’ belongings to fuel their problem.
Obvious physical and behavioral side effects to look out for include:
- Highly ambitious, aggressive behavior
- Grandiose, risk-taking objectives
- Changes in appearance, like unexplained weight loss
- Sporadic and frequent sick-days
- Lack of motivation
- Less camaraderie or collaboration
It can be risky to intervene with a coworker’s life based on a mere suspicion that they may be using drugs. However, if multiple side effects appear over an extended period of time, it can be beneficial to get Human Resources involved instead of confronting your colleague or boss directly.
Why workplace drug testing works
Drug testing in the workplace is no longer as intimidating as it used to be just a few years ago. While it might seem incriminating to be asked to undergo a workplace drug test, most companies offer Employee Assistance Programs to help rehabilitation and support people suffering with a drug abuse problem. Enrolling an employee into an EAP usually happens well before they are terminated, since employers recognize the value in retaining talent and reducing turnover.
There are many methods of workplace drug testing, depending on the individual’s stage of employment:
Pre-employment drug testing is performed before an applicant is extended an offer letter of employment. This is usually a solid first step to keep drug abuse out of the workplace. Pre-employment drug tests are usually conducted with urine specimens. These tests are often accompanied by a thorough background screen.
Random or periodic drug testing is usually conducted bi-annually after non-biased randomization of employee names. This practice ensures workers are not involved in recreational drug abuse which could jeopardize on-duty performance.
Post-accident drug testing is only issued after a serious injury or fatality occurs in the workplace. This type of testing must be performed within a specific time frame following the incident (24 hours for injuries, 8 hours for fatalities).
The general idea of a stereotypical drug abuser is not as diverse as it should be. White-collar drug users often parade as unsuspecting, high-performing individuals who regularly practice sobriety. Productive drug users can easily maintain thriving social lives and intense fitness regimens. That’s why it’s important to perform some kind of drug screening in order to make sure that even those who appear to be sober are screened for violating corporate policies.