How To Help An Employee With Substance Abuse Problem

Substance abuse is a problem that impacts an individual’s personal life, professional life and mental state as well as those around that person. 

Having someone in your office who has issues with substance abuse can be risky in many ways. An employee prone to substance use can harm others or even damage property. 

If you recognize that someone is struggling with a substance abuse issue, it’s your responsibility to help them or find someone who can help them. 

Here are some ways to help an employee with substance abuse issues. 

Provide a Safe Environment

The first step towards helping an employee should be talking to them about the issue and confirming whether or not they are using an ill-legal substance. 

While talking to the employee the environment should be comfortable to make them feel safe sharing the issue with you. 

Fear of repercussions may discourage an employee from confiding in their supervisors, so providing an open and non-judgmental atmosphere is necessary. 

You can introduce the employee to an Employee Assistance Program that offers confidential counseling and support services to those who face problems such as substance abuse. 

Appropriate Treatment

After the problem has come to light, it’s time to solve it. People suffering from substance abuse often hesitate to ask for help. You can assist them in finding appropriate treatment plans.

Advise them to reserve a reputable rehabilitation program like the one at WhiteSands’ Fort Myers Rehab Center. You can also discuss the different therapies, support groups, etc. to convince them to sign up for the program. You can also give them a paid leave or flexible work hours to ensure they don’t miss their treatment schedule. 

Additionally, you can check your company’s health insurance to see if any offer can benefit the employee. 

Maintain Confidentiality 

To provide the employee with a safe and non-judgmental environment in the workplace, it is crucial to keep the discussion within the four walls. 

Whether it’s the confrontation round or helping them find rehab, confidentiality is a must. Throughout the process, you need to respect the employee’s privacy.

Although, if necessary you can share the information about the employee’s substance abuse problem to the higher authorities on a need-to-know basis. 

Educating Others

By providing training to other employers on how to identify people with substance abuse issues and teaching them how to deal with the problem, you can handle the situation effectively. 

Sensitively addressing the issue, while maintaining the employee’s confidentiality can prevent the issue from escalating. 

If the managers and superiors understand the issue at a deeper level, they can assign work responsibilities that match their recovery progress. It will be easier for the employee to return to work after undergoing the therapy.  

Monitor the Employee’s Performance

To make sure that the employee is taking treatment or getting better you need to keep track of their progress.

The initiative will not only demonstrate the organization’s commitment to the employee’s well-being but also allow adjustments to be made during their recovery period. 

Engage the employee and others in some team-building activities so that he won’t feel secluded or like he is not wanted in the office. 


Addressing substance abuse issues in the workplace requires a lot of awareness about the issue, its consequences and the appropriate supportive measures. 

Following a legal procedure is also crucial in such cases. You can also seek guidance from outside your office department. 

Remember, the consequences of your actions can be either fruitful or drastic. So, before concluding, analyze the situation from every aspect instead of working on rumors. 

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