If you’re a business owner, it’s understandable that you want your staff members to feel well and optimally perform in their everyday tasks. 
However, if you’re noticing that a team member is somewhat ‘off’ and not focused, even dazed at work, and possibly struggling with an addiction, then it’s important to speak up — though, in an understanding and help-focused way. 
For those who suspect that their employees may be taking recreational drugs during and after work hours, this is something you can’t ignore or brush under the rug. It’s imperative to speak with them about this and get the issue under control, given the impact that drugs and alcohol can have on their life at work, home, and with your other staff members. 
That said, we’ll take a look below at how to talk to your employee about their addiction and what you may be able to do to assist. 

Be Certain There is an Addiction

Prior to making an assumption or talking with other team members about an employee’s addiction, you should be quite sure that there is an issue and you’re not going to embarrass or make a bold claim without much evidence. 
Make sure that you see a few signs or symptoms of drug abuse or addiction over a period of time. You’ll want to be sure there’s a few pointers here that aim toward addiction, rather than simply being stressed or tired. 
If you are certain or reasonably certain that your employee is suffering from addiction or substance abuse, you can then move on to speaking with them about it. 

Educate Yourself First

One quick tip we’d like to point out is keeping yourself up to date with substance and drug abuse prior to reaching out. 
You’re going to want to be prepared and educated on the issue at hand before you work to offer your assistance, and as such, we suggest you read up on addiction and how best to help out those who may need your advice or reassurance. 

Approach Your Employee

When you’re certain about a suspected addiction problem and have undertaken some essential research, you should then work on approaching your employee about their issues. 
It’s imperative that you do this in the most confidential and safe manner and in a way that doesn’t bring any unwanted attention to your team member by their colleagues. 
Although it isn’t your responsibility as an employer to speak about addiction and offer pathways to staff members, you may still feel compelled to speak about the issue at hand. 
With that in mind, it’s important to simply and calmly raise your suspicions and go over a potential plan of action. You may want to adjust workflows and workplace responsibilities to remove sensitive tasks away from someone under the influence of drugs or even alcohol abuse. This should be clearly and respectfully spoken through with the employee in question. 
From here, you can either leave the treatment up to your staff member, or you can offer a referral or a pathway to treatment. 

Referring an Employee to Get Help

In Australia, there are several ways you can guide your employee to getting the mental health help they require, and as an employer, you’re able to refer and direct staff members to utilize an EAP (if it exists), as well as to a mental health practitioner.
It’s always important to check up on these centers before making a referral, though it’s best to double-check with your team member first before making calls and arranging things on your own. 
You might find that your employee does have their own plan or pathway in mind, though they may need a little more encouragement to follow through with it, and being in a position of power, you may be able to better assist with this. 

Monitoring and Applauding Performance and Change

If you have spoken to your employee about their addiction and have begun to notice positive changes in their morale and action in the workplace, it’s essential that you applaud this. 
Whether authentic or not, a little respect and admiration go a long way when it comes to recognizing the recovery from an addiction. 
If you’re noticing that your employee has majorly lifted their performance and is showing signs of recovering, then it’s always good to show that this is visible and that you’re proud or pleased with the steps they have taken. 

Why You Should Talk to Employees About Addiction

To end our list of tips, we’ll finish with a few reasons why it’s important to talk to an employee about their addiction issues. 
Going beyond helping them improve their lifestyle and life at home, you’re providing an ear and a sounding board for someone in your place of business who may be truly struggling with something. 
Offering support, a guide, and a path to controlling this addiction can (and often will) reduce accidents at work, improve employee and workforce morale, and cut back on your chances of dealing with on-the-job errors. 
In all, supporting and talking through issues with addiction is the first step to getting an employee on the road to recovery. 


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