Addiction and substance abuse are most serious unaddressed workplace issues

Results from a national survey of more than 1,000 human resource professionals nationwide found that 67% consider addiction and substance abuse to be among the most serious problems in the workplace. Released by the nonprofit Hazelden Foundation, the survey also showed that employer policies and practices are not fully addressing the problem. Only 22% of the HR professionals surveyed say their companies openly and proactively deal with employee addiction and substance abuse issues.

Some of the key barriers that prevented HR professionals from helping employees seek treatment for their substance abuse or addiction problem included the challenge of getting employees to acknowledge or talk about the issue (54%) and 49% cited the following personal hurdles: lack of experience in identifying substance abuse and addiction (20%); lack of information on treatment options (16%); and personal discomfort in approaching the employees about the issue (13%).

Interestingly enough, the survey revealed that 56% of the HR professionals say they believe addiction among women has increased over the last 5 years. Those surveyed believe the major barriers preventing women from getting treatment are fear of losing custody of their children (75%); reluctance to admit their addiction (69%); and fear that their employers (62%) and their families (58%) will find out.

“Hazelden is committed to seeking out ways to help companies across the country address the serious issue of substance abuse and addiction in the workplace,” said Jill Wiedemann-West, Senior Vice President of Clinical and Recovery Services at the Hazelden Foundation. “We believe that by sharing these survey results we can reinforce the importance and urgency of treatment which will provide the best opportunity for lifelong recovery for those in need.”

Read the full press release from the Hazelden Foundation: Substance abuse and addiction among most serious workplace issues.

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