Common Ways that Substance Abuse Affects Workers

Most Common Ways in Which Substance Abuse Affects Workers

Inability to Concentrate, Missed Deadlines, and Poor Attendance

Slightly more than one-fourth (26%) of employed adults report that there has been substance abuse or addiction within their family and 42% of these workers report that they have been distracted or less productive at work because of it, according to a recent national telephone survey.

  • Having their mind drift away from work tasks to thoughts of the problem was the most frequently reported work-related problem (89%),
  • followed by missing a deadline or work/attendance suffering (57%), and
  • errors in judgment (46%).

The workers surveyed suggested several ways in which employers could help, such as

  • offering counseling for family members of addicted individuals (73%),
  • providing better health insurance coverage (67%), and
  • providing a more flexible work schedule or time off work (65%).


Adapted by CESAR from Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Foundation’s 2005 “Making Recovery America’s Business” Survey Data Tables, 2005. Available online at



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