Canada has legalized cannabis use for recreational purposes at the end of 2018. It’s without a doubt great news for all Canadians. But, with the legalization of cannabis, the concern of substance abuse in the workplace is also rising.
That’s why we are trying to discuss substance abuse in the workplace, not just cannabis but other more harmful drugs. We will try to explain the potential danger of drug use in workplaces and what we can do to prevent it.
The Impact of Substance Use in the Workplace
We all know that using drugs has many effects and side effects. If your work involves dealing with complicated machinery or driving, you need to rethink about your drug use even for recreational use. For instance, – Cannabis can impair your memory or sense of time, alcohol can impair your balance, judgment, or agitate you. Some opiates and hallucinogens can give a more acute side effect.
So, if the employee’s work involves controlling heavy machinery or a system, then there should be strict policy to prohibit drugs (legal or illegal) at work and before work.
You may hear of some magic drug that can boost energy or increase functionality. Hate to break it to you, but there are no such magic drugs. Even if some drugs seemingly increase energy, it will drain your energy when the effects wear off. The after-effects of these drugs are much more dangerous. You can’t function with full energy and lose your enthusiasm and focus on work.
Some people think that it’s harmless to take a sip of beer or take a toke once a while when they are working. Well, it seems harmless, but it’s not. Taking drugs takes its effect. Though it’s not always that harmful, you need to be careful about it.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Substance abuse can primarily affect your mental health. If someone continues to take some drugs for a long time, it could leave him/her with some significant psychiatric disorder. Using drugs has an instant and long-term effect. For instance, – alcohol consumption can distort your judgment. As for long term effects, the employee could show erratic or violent behavior, lack of moral conscience, lack of responsibility, and other valuable qualities essential for an employer to hold.
What to Do to Prevent Substance Abuse
A Strict Office Law
Employers and employees should come to an agreement to establish an office law that will work for all. The law should have some serious restrictions on drug use (recreational) and also should have some flexibility to follow. The law should be smartly implemented so that no one feels forced to follow it.
A Regular Workflow and Accountability
Every workplace should have a systematic workflow. The management should create accountability for everyone. The workload should be uniformly distributed. If the workers have a moderate workload daily, the possibility of using drugs will automatically decrease.
Recent scientific studies show that it’s not strict law, but the increasing recreational activities can reduce drug abuse. Employers should provide a pleasant workplace environment for all of their employees.
Counseling could be beneficial to overcome drug addiction. Many people try really hard to get rid of severe addiction but don’t get the help they should. The office should have a counseling facility to address the issue of drug problems, stress problems and those who seek guidance from it. Employers should also launch awareness to prevent possible drug abuse.
The Bottom Line
Even a legal drug is not always safe to use. It depends on so many things like how old are the users, what are they doing at the time, how much they are going to consume and what is their mental and physical position at the time of use. It also depends on how long they are using it. So, when we are talking about recreational drug use, there are no easy lines to draw.
Substance abuse increases workplace injury and violence or bullying. The awareness should come from pretty much everyone. We should not criminalize people who have serious addiction problems. Instead of attacking them, we should show compassion and patience to deal with them. Then we have a better chance to fight this serious problem.