How to Report Drug Use at the Workplace

HR Complaints How to Report Drug Use at the Workplace

Reporting Substance Abuse in the Workplace Explained

Employers and employees are both susceptible to the economic and health costs associated with problematic substance use in the workplace. According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI), companies in the United States lose $100 billion a year due to alcohol and drug misuse by employees. 

If you suspect your coworker or manager is using drugs in the workplace, remember that every employee is legally entitled to work in a safe and healthy environment. This article will help you learn what problematic substance use is, why you should report it, and how to do it safely and anonymously through DoNotPay

What is Problematic Substance Use? 

Problematic substance use may occur with a variety of legal and illegal substances. The table below outlines examples of addictive substances and their effects in the workplace. 


 

Category Examples Effects
Cannabis Marijuana, hashish
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired coordination
Depressants Alcohol, sleeping medications, sedatives, tranquilizers
  • Inattention
  • Depression
  • Impaired balance
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired judgment
Hallucinogens LSD, PCP, mescaline
  • Inattention
  • Illusions
  • Disorientation
Nicotine Cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco
  • Initial stimulant followed by depressant effects
Stimulants Cocaine, amphetamines
  • Elevated mood
  • Overactivity
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat
Opiates Morphine, heroin, oxycodone, oxycontin
  • Loss of interest
  • “Nodding”

 

Why Should You Report Substance Abuse in the Workplace?

Substance abuse in the workplace can lead to negative consequences for both employees and employers. The list below summarizes five major impacts of substance abuse in the workplace.

  • Employee health. 

Employees with problematic substance use tend to neglect their health needs. This can lead to increased use of sick time, tardiness, and absenteeism. Equally, employers may see a higher health benefits usage. 

  • Productivity. 

Employees who abuse substances tend to be physically and mentally impaired on the job. This can result in reduced output, work quality, and customer satisfaction. 

  • Decision making. 

Employees who abuse substances often make poor decisions and have a distorted perception of their ability. This can lead to reduced innovation, creativity, and competitiveness. 

  • Morale.

The presence of employees with problematic substance use can strain relationships between coworkers. This can result in high turnover rates, reduced teamwork, and low morale. 

  • Security. 

Employees with substance abuse often have financial difficulties and may be engaged in illegal activities such as theft. 

How to Report Substance Abuse in the Workplace?

Reporting drug use at work can be tricky because you may not want to be seen as a whistleblower, especially when the employee in question seems to be having a hard time. 

However, you need to realize that your colleague’s problematic substance use will have an impact on your work and the organization as a whole. Here is a guideline on how to report your colleague or manager for drug abuse:

  1. Collect evidence. Having sufficient proof will ensure the case is convincing. Create a list of the person’s drug use you witnessed and include the date, time, and location.
  2. Review company policies. Most companies uphold a drug and alcohol-free policy. You should use internal reporting channels for filing a suspected drug abuse complaint before resorting to external channels.
  3. Call your company’s anonymous hotline. Many companies offer employees the chance to report issues, ranging from drug use to harassment complaints. If you need to report drug abuse at work and prefer to remain anonymous, you can try this method.

How to Investigate a Report of Drug Abuse in the Workplace?

If you are an HR personnel looking to investigate a report of drug or alcohol use in the workplace, you may suggest conducting the following tests. Keep in mind that tests should follow the guidelines for Federal Drug testing, your company’s policies, and local laws. 

 

Drug Test Details
Urine Urinalysis is the most common drug test. It shows the presence of drugs retained by the body. This test detects drugs such as cocaine, alcohol, opiates, etc. This test has a shorter detection window (10 days). 
Hair Follicle  This test can tell you if an employee has used drugs in the last 90 days. It can detect cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and methamphetamine.
Blood  This test is highly accurate. It has a very short detection window ranging from minutes to hours.
Saliva This test is recommended if an employee refuses to submit a urine sample for analysis. It has a detection window of 21 hours. 
Breath This is used to check for alcohol use in the workplace and can detect the level of alcohol present in the employee’s blood.

 

How to File an Anonymous HR Complaint with DoNotPay

DoNotPay is your trusty legal assistant in the form of an app. Our new product, Anonymous HR Complaints, lets you file a complaint against a co-worker or your boss without exposing your identity. This protects you from retaliation and prevents awkward situations at work. Filing is easy and only takes 3 steps:

1. Open the Anonymous HR Complaint product on DoNotPay.

2. Enter your employer’s name and your HR department’s mailing address.

3. Describe the issues you’re experiencing and how you want them to be addressed.

 

Your work is done! DoNotPay will mail the complaint anonymously on your behalf.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay does not stop at just HR complaints. In addition to helping you report drug abuse in the workplace, DoNotPay can also help with other day-to-day legal matters such as:

  1. Catching Robocallers
  2. Canceling any service or subscriptions
  3. Connecting with an inmate
  4. Avoiding college application fees
  5. Stopping email spam