Corporate addiction

Addiction affects every corner of society, including in the boardroom.

We all know the stereotypical pictures of addiction. Street dealers, squatters, crime syndicates, prostitution and the derelict lifestyle. But what about outside those stereotypes?

Substance misuse is now the domain of the average wage earner, with 62% of workers using alcohol and drugs at harmful levels in full- time employment.

Loss of Productivity

Alcohol and drug issues cost Australian workplaces an estimated $6 billion per year in lost productivity. Recent research has estimated that 2.5 million days are lost annually due to drinking and drug use, at a cost of more than $680 million. 16% of Australian employees now use illicit drugs on an annual basis.

Who’a at Risk?

Long work hours in professions such as nursing or midwifery have been associated with harmful levels of daily alcohol consumption. Other occupations with increased risk include hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and retail industries, armed forces, emergency workers such as police and fire personnel, and healthcare workers. Shift work has been associated with binge drinking.

Unsafe Workplace

The International Labour Organisation estimates 20 to 25 per cent of all occupational injuries are a result of alcohol and other drug use. Some studies cite alcohol use as responsible for 5 per cent of all workplace deaths and up to 11 per cent of non-fatal injuries.

Painkillers and marijuana are the biggest threats to work- place safety. Marijuana has been linked to increased accidents, injuries and mistakes, with the consequences being more workers’ compensation insurance claims.

Workers in construction, mining, labouring and building are at high risk for injuries. For this reason, prescription pain medication usage is highest with blue-collar workers. This can lead to a 17% reduction in workplace productivity.

There is also a rising opioid medication addiction issue for people seeking pain relief. Oxycodone tablets and Fentanyl patches are commonly prescribed for painful musculoskeletal injuries. Workers addicted to opioids miss an extra 18.5 days of work per year and spend 5 times the number of days per year in hospitals on average.


And then there is absenteeism. Employees with drug and alcohol misuse miss on average 34% more days than other workers and have 16% more work turnover each year. The average cost of absenteeism is around $950 per employee per day.

The Australian Drug Foundation says the annual cost of absenteeism alone due to alcohol is estimated at $1.2billion with an estimated $2.5 million days lost annually.


Turning up for work and being under the influence of drug or alcohol can be even more expensive and damaging than absenteeism. This is called presenteeism, where the person is present in the workplace but not fully mentally engaged in the job. Alternatively, they may spend part of the day hung- over or sleep deprived. Statistics show the drop in workplace productivity by presenteeism is one third.

The Signs

Watching for signs of addiction helps identify which workers may be at risk of workplace substance use.
Signs can include:

  • sleepiness
  • daydreaming
  • forgetfulness
  • mistakes
  • missing shifts
  • glazed eyes or pinned pupils
  • befriending doctors
  • frequent bathroom visits
  • volunteering for night shifts
  • conflicts with peers and supervisors
  • chewing mints or using mouthwashes
  • money problems
  • family breakdown
  • frequent job changes
  • changing location frequently

What to do

At Sydney Detox and Rehab we offer confidential cocaine withdrawal programs with medical supervision. We understand our clients’ need for privacy and the pressures of professional life. We also accommodate your ongoing business and personal requirements through your stay.

For more details contact us:
ph: 02 9400 2384