Novus Medical Detox Comments on Government Study Findings: One in 10 American Workers Struggling with Substance Abuse

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An alarming number of Americans – the majority of which are employed full-time – use substances such as alcohol or illicit drugs. While the problem of drug abuse in the workplace has largely been under the radar, Novus Medical Detox Center is calling for a raise in awareness in order to deal with the issue.

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As different types of drugs can negatively affect job performance in different ways, it is important to recognize the side effects in order to understand what the employee might be going through...

According to a recent HealthDay article, a government report found that nearly one in 10 full-time workers has a substance abuse problem - the data, which was gathered between 2008 and 2012 from more than 111,500 adults with full-time jobs, revealed that 9.5% of those workers had an illicit-drug or alcohol disorder in the previous year. (1) The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD) reports drug abuse costs employers $81 billion per year, and an estimated 70% of the 14.8 million illicit drug users in America are employed. (2) While substance abuse in the workplace is not new, the effects are largely under reported. Florida detox facility Novus Medical Detox Center calls attention to the problem of substance abuse in the workplace to affect both understanding of the issue and subsequently eradication.

The awareness that substance abuse may affect the workplace is compounded by the fact that many aspects of the workplace today require alertness, accuracy and quick reflexes – requirements that may not be possible for someone under the influence of a substance. According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI), drug and alcohol users are less productive than their sober counterparts, take three times as many sick days, are more likely to injure themselves or someone else, and are five times more likely to file worker's compensation claims. (3)

“As different types of drugs can negatively affect job performance in different ways, it is important to recognize the side effects in order to understand what the employee might be going through – then the appropriate steps can be taken to help the individual overcome their addiction,” says Novus Medical Detox Center Director of Admissions Will Wesch, who adds that substance abuse can negatively impact work performance in the following ways:

  •     The after-effects of substance use (such as a hangover or withdrawal) negatively affecting job performance and productivity;
  •     Illness or absenteeism;
  •     Preoccupation with obtaining and/or using substances during work, potentially leading to illegal activities at work;
  •     Interference with attention and concentration. (4)

Many organizations are updating the language in Drug-Free Workplace Policies related to potential impairment from a prescription drug, making it even more critical that managers understand the law for prescription drug use at work, including the new nuances, per Wesch. Novus Detox urges managers to be coached on how to engage and offer reasonable accommodations, up to or including modifying job responsibilities should an employee notify the manager that his or her medication may impair job performance.

Additionally, Wesch adds that Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) need to be aware of the problem of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace in order to understand the issues and to be able to refer employees to the right programs for help.

“The more awareness we can raise, the more likely we are to solve the problem,” says Wesch.

Withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can be risky when done unsupervised, as the process often becomes extremely painful and can result in the individual resuming taking the drug or drinking alcohol. Novus Detox specializes in creating a personalized treatment regimen for each patient in order to reduce the risks attached to drug withdrawal. Individualized treatment regimens include an individualized medical protocol, natural supplements, healthy meals and nutrient-enriched IV treatments. Patients also have 24/7 access to nursing care and withdrawal specialist assistance should the need arise. Many patients are able to complete their detox program in less than two weeks.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox Center, including its substance abuse treatment and methadone detox programs, visit

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center is a Joint Commission Accredited inpatient medical detox facility that offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is also licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families and is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient. By incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment, Novus tailors the detox process for each patient, putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television and high-speed Internet access. Novus’ expansion is tied to their contribution to their industry and their local community, ranking number 48 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2014 Fast 50 Awards list of the fastest-growing companies in Tampa Bay, and number 2,936 on the 2014 Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America. For more information, visit

(1)    Preidt, Robert. “Substance Abuse Reported by About 1 in 10 American Workers”; Health Day News; April 16, 2015.

(2)    “Drugs and the Workplace”; National Council Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

(3)    “Substance Abuse in the Workplace”; About Health; June 10, 2014.

(4)    “OSH Answers Fact Sheets - Substance Abuse in the Workplace”; Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety; May 27, 2015.

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Karla Jo Helms
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