As an employer, you have a duty of care to all your employees when they are carrying out their roles. Much of this is a legal obligation, however, many employers believe they also have a moral obligation too, and this is why many of them will allow employees paid leave for mental health counselling or for drug rehab programs, for example.

One of the problems that employers face, is that in most cases they are not qualified to identify the symptoms of someone who is going through a personal crisis. The other issue is that if someone wishes to keep a problem they are having to themselves, they have the right to do so, as long as it not affecting their work.

In the case of someone who has a problem with drugs, the situation is different as, even if an employer has no formal training on the matter, there are some obvious tell-tale signs that someone is using drugs. Even if that person tries to keep their drug use a secret, their actions, and behaviours can give away the fact that they are. Here are some to look out for if you suspect someone is taking drugs.

Actions Out Of Character

If you have known an employee for some time, and they start to act in a manner that is completely out of character, then drug use could be the cause. Examples include a usually lively person becoming introverted, or conversely, someone who tends to be quiet and shy becoming very outgoing and in extreme cases, outwardly aggressive in some situations.

Excessive Agitation

Everyone gets agitated from time to time, especially at work, but if you notice, or it is brought to your attention, that one of your employees has become increasingly agitated, then drug use could be the source of the problem. Noticeable signs will be increasing nervousness, them being jumpy at the slightest thing and that they show signs of increasing anger and irritation.

Showing Signs Of Disorientation

Drug use can manifest itself differently in each individual that is taking the drugs, and one of those symptoms is disorientation. This can appear in various ways, but the most common are someone seemingly oblivious to what is happening around them, losing track of a conversation they are involved in, them appearing distracted, or them showing emotions such as euphoria when the situation does not warrant it.

Unexplained Workplace Injuries

This can be a real concern for an employer given some of the legal issues it can create. Apart from injuries incurred at work, drug use can also manifest physical injuries such as burn marks on the fingers, bruising on the arms, and a bloody nose. If one of your employees displays one or more of these, then you must investigate them immediately.

Unusual Breathing Patterns

It goes without saying that drug use causes much physical harm to the body, and some of these can become life-threatening. In extreme cases of drug addiction to certain drugs, the nervous system is seriously compromised. One consequence of this can be restricted breathing to the point that it slows so much that the person’s life is in danger.

Other Physical Symptoms

Although not as life threatening as shallow breathing, there are other physical signs that someone is taking drugs. These include excessive sweating, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, weight loss, weight gain, poor personal hygiene, excessive shaking, and strange odours. Also, be aware of anyone who seems to be taking sporadic sick leave and the cause given changes each time.