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An employer’s guide to addiction

Addiction harms individuals, their children, families, and society as a whole.

Around a million adults in the UK have some form of alcohol dependence. Overall, alcohol-related harm costs society £21 billion a year, with the costs to the National Health Service (NHS) estimated at £3.5bn.

Illegal drug use is common. About a third of the population admit to taking drugs at some stage in their lives, but few go on to develop significant problems. The cost of drug use and supply to society is estimated at around £10.7bn per year, of which £6bn is attributed to drug-related crime.

An addiction problem, however it begins – through poor lifestyle choices, or perhaps as a relief from adversity – has profound social consequences once entrenched. In medical terms, it is a chronic long-term condition characterised by relapse and remission. The employability of those affected by addiction declines, their families suffer distress, and their children become open to risk of neglect.

The number of people in work with addiction problems (including less severe dependencies) is difficult to quantify – though an independent 2016 review by Dame Carol Black identified that 69% of adults who reported any kind of substance use were in employment.

The cost to business

Black’s study also found that four out of ten employers saw alcohol as a significant driver of lost productivity through absenteeism, and a third of respondents reported similar concerns for drugs.

Other addictive behaviours can have similar negative impacts, including problems with punctuality or absenteeism, performance and efficiency concerns, erratic behaviour, poor decision-making, and increased risk of accidents or incidents.

Unrecognised addiction issues may also affect the morale of your wider team, increase the likelihood of costly and time-consuming disciplinary issues and increase staff turnover.

Supporting your employees

Many forward-thinking organisations now have policies on drug and alcohol testing, particularly those involved in safety-critical industries such as transport, logistics or engineering. Lapses of concentration where employee or public safety is at risk can potentially be fatal.

Employers which encourage employees with problems to come forward – and which offer assistance through access to treatment – are more likely to retain key staff.

This makes both moral and business sense, as it is usually more cost effective to invest in treatment than to re-recruit and train a new employee. A supportive policy will also reduce the risk of accidents which have unquantifiable implications for financial performance and human life.

How can Parkland Place help?

We’re ready to support you and your employees.

The team at Parkland Place stand ready to work as your company’s strategic partner in the delivery of residential rehabilitation treatment for addiction and addictive behaviours. We offer a bespoke therapeutic programme to all our guests, and can readily respond to the individual needs of your business and employees, and in support of your commitment as an employer.

Everything we do is underpinned by established and evidence-based principles. Our programme draws on solution-focused and person-centred models of care – including cognitive behavioural and metacognitive therapies – and a number of successful recovery programmes. We offer all our guests a full assessment to establish their needs before they join us at Parkland Place.

Our team encourage guests to explore the psychological and social reasons underlying their behaviour, and to develop new strategies in support of personal and professional goals.

Corporate support

Our team can provide expert and impartial advice on managing addiction issues for employers and employees, as part of your business’ corporate wellbeing service. We can also offer wider awareness training for staff and managers, plus work-based drug and alcohol testing.

Day Programme

We recognise that employees and employers may not be able to commit to a residential stay at Parkland Place, but are happy to offer access to our therapeutic programme during the day. We will offer the same level of unrivalled therapeutic support, including group and one-to-one sessions.