Signs that an employee may have a substance abuse problem

Substance abuse in the workplace is a major concern for employers. But, how can you tell if an employee has a problem with drugs or alcohol? Following are signs that an employee may have a substance abuse problem:

Performance Signs:

* Inconsistent quality of work
* Lowered productivity
* Extended lunch periods and early departures
* Poor concentration / distracted easily
* Increased absenteeism
* Disregard for safety
* Unexplained disappearances from work
* Carelessness
* Errors in judgment
* Needless risk-taking

Behavioral Signs:

* Deterioration of personal appearance
* Changes in personality
* Tired or falls asleep at work
* Frequent financial problems
* Avoidance of friends and co-workers
* Blaming others for own problems
* Complaints about problems at home
* Complaints and/or excuses of vaguely defined illnesses

Keep in mind that while these may be signs of substance abuse, they can also be signs of some other problem with the employee (i.e., mental health, family, etc.).


Visit the Maine Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) website Workplace Frequently Asked Questions section.

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