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Chapter 28. Alcohol and Drug Abuse > Organizational Factors Affecting Substance...

Organizational Factors Affecting Substance Abuse

There are a variety of ways in which some work environments foster excess substance abuse. High-stress environments lead many to drink too much, particularly if the work culture supports it. Historically, business trips and some business functions have featured large amounts of alcohol. Many become drawn into the party atmosphere and consume far more alcohol than they would under other circumstances. Moreover, many work cultures are very tolerant of considerable alcohol use at happy hours. The combination of high stress, people around you drinking, and a culture tolerant of heavy use lead many down a dark path.

There are things that companies can do to limit the problem. First, bar alcohol during the workday and limit alcohol at parties—open bars are nice but are not really an entitlement. Second, have an employee assistance program (EAP) in place—EAPs have been estimated to save companies 5 to 15 times their cost. Third, be alert to the signs of substance abuse and quickly take steps to refer people who may be abusing alcohol or drugs to the EAP; do not make excuses for their behavior.


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