By Brad Sloan, Interim Reintegration & Detox ManagerValeo Recovery Center
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and is sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
The most recent statistical data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that 16.3 million adults aged 18 and older had an Alcohol Use Disorder in 2014; this includes 10.6 million men and 5.7 million women. Of that number only 1.5 million adults received treatment at a facility that specializes in treatment of persons with addiction issues. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes annually making it the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. In 2014, alcohol impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths or 31 percent of all driving fatalities and finally, ten percent of children in the United States live with a parent with alcohol problems.
Economically, Alcohol Abuse costs to employers is $1700 annually per employee whether that employee is using alcohol or not. The overall net loss in productivity in the workplace is in the $200 billion range and the annual cost to the Criminal Justice System is around $60 billion.
What you can do as an employer:
- Refer employees to their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if they notice work performance issues that may be caused by alcohol use.
- Inquire about alcohol use if they have reasonable suspicion that the usage is causing work performance issues.
- Send employees for alcohol breath testing if they suspect the employee has been drinking prior to their work shift or during their work shift.
- Encourage employees to be open with them if they are struggling with alcohol use in order to get help.
Research has clearly documented that addiction to alcohol is a chronic, progressive disease that can be linked to family history and genetics. If you have a family history of problems with alcohol, or know someone who does, be matter of fact about it, as you would any other chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.
Valeo Recovery Center wants to remind employers that alcoholism and alcohol-related problems cost employers billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, accidents and poor job performance. Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. The good news? We can all do our part to prevent alcohol misuse or abuse. If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting.
Here are some strategies to cut back on and raise awareness about alcohol use:
- Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
- Keep track of how much you drink.
- Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
- Don’t drink when you are upset.
- Avoid places where people drink a lot.
- Make a list of reasons not to drink.
- Parents can talk with their kids about the risks of alcohol use.
- Ask your health care provider about the benefits of drinking less or quitting.
- Encourage friends or family members to make small changes, like keeping track of their drinking and setting drinking limits.
Brad Sloan, Interim Reintegration & Detox Manager Valeo Recovery Center