Substance Abuse

What is substance abuse?


Substance abuse is the use of any illegal substance; or misuse of any legal substance such as alcohol, prescribed drugs, or over the counter medicine. Substance abuse negatively affects the workplace and people through lost productivity, workplace injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale, depression and physical illness. U.S. companies lose billions of dollars every year from substance abuse related issues.

What are the effects of substances on the human body?

1. Alcohol: impaired judgement, slowed reflexes, impaired motor function, sleepiness or drowsiness, coma, fatal overdose
2. Cannabis: distorted sense of time, impaired memory, impaired coordination
3. Depressants: inattention, slowed reflexes, depression, impaired balance, drowsiness, coma, fatal overdose
4. Hallucinogens: inattention, sensory illusions, hallucinations, disorientation, psychosis
5. Inhalants: intoxication similar to alcohol, dizziness, headache
6. Nicotine: initial stimulant, later depressant effects
7. Opiates: loss of interest, nodding, fatal overdose, Hepatitis B, C or HIV if shared needles are used
8. Stimulants: elevated mood, over-activity, tension, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, constricted blood vessels

*Many of these effects put you and other workers in extreme danger.

What controls may be used to protect yourself from substance abuse related injuries and illnesses?


1. Only used prescription drugs if they are prescribed to you by a physician
2. Only use prescription drugs as recommended by a physician
3. If you are on prescription medication, inform your supervisor immediately
4. Never operate any type of motor vehicle, machinery, power tools, equipment or perform hazardous tasks while on prescription medication
5. Always follow over the counter drug use recommendations
6. Never use illegal drugs while on the job
7. Never arrive to work while under the influence of any type of illegal drug or alcohol
8. Avoid alcohol consumption during the 24 hours leading up to the beginning of your shift
9. Never consume alcohol while on the job
10. Seek help through the company or a third party if you have an addiction
11. Never quit seeking help with addiction when you fail to achieve sobriety

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