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If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help! Call us today at (855) 722-6926

How Employers Are Enabling Addiction

How Employers Are Enabling Addiction

From 2019 to 2020, the rate of overdose deaths increased by 31%, and it shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.1 With drug and alcohol epidemics growing, many companies are now experiencing the challenges of addiction in the workplace. Addiction in the workplace costs an estimated $740 billion annually in costs associated with crime, health care, and lost productivity.2 Businesses are focused on helping employees find sobriety, but unfortunately, some well-meaning behaviors might actually be enabling addiction. Our Massachusetts addiction treatment center outlines signs of enabling and how to help employees find sobriety by partnering with a corporate recovery program.

Signs of Enabling in the Workplace

Enabling an addict includes behaviors that allow them to continue down the path of drug abuse or alcoholism. While these behaviors are often well-intentioned, they can exacerbate the situation by allowing the addiction to continue. In the workplace, enabling behaviors include:

  • Making excuses: Covering for a coworker or employee who is dealing with addiction will only allow their self-destructive behavior to continue. You may think you are helping them, but covering up for their absences or deficient performance will be to their detriment overall.
  • Not holding employees accountable: If you are a supervisor and you fear an employee is struggling with addiction due to increasingly disappointing workplace performance, you need to follow through. If the employee receives a “free pass,” they will continue their unsatisfactory behavior and will not recognize the need to get sober.
  • Giving employees access to drugs or alcohol: Happy hours after a long work week are not an ideal fit for employees who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in the workplace. There is other ways to celebrate without drugs or alcohol.
  • Ignoring substance abuse in the workplace: Like past sentiments, although overlooking the addictive struggles of an employee may seem like an option to avoid confrontation, the reality is that it opens the door to a slew of risks. Depending on the profession, being under the influence can have severe consequences for the employee, clients, and company.

An enabled addict is far less likely to confront their dangerous habits when those around them make it seem like nothing is wrong. These situations can be delicate and uncomfortable, but not doing anything about a situation like this does not lead to anything good. That said, employers should look for what they can do to help instead of enabling addiction in their employees.

What Employers Can Do to Help

Something to remember is that boundaries are important. Although it may seem necessary to confront a person head-on, employees should still have a certain right to privacy. If a direct violation is not being done, but you are still worried about your worker’s well-being, consider offering education and additional support to them. Resources that encourage exercise, a healthy diet, and a beneficial sleep schedule are all ways that workers can be supported.

It is also possible to implement policies that motivate employees to improve their health. For instance, some companies utilize incentives for workers who stop smoking or get annual exams. At the end of the day, treating addiction in the workplace is the best way to help employees or coworkers find their sobriety. Our drug and alcohol rehab in Massachusetts provides corporate recovery support with industry-specific treatment programs.

Finding Industry-Specific Drug and Alcohol Treatment

A growing number of companies are taking control of their workplace by partnering with corporate recovery programs, such as our program at Banyan Treatment Center Massachusetts. These programs provide industry-specific treatment approaches to help employees from numerous industries find their sobriety. Our Wilmington rehab center also offers options for partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs, which allows patients to receive effective treatment while having the chance to maintain their responsibilities.

Banyan is here to help anyone struggling with a substance use disorder find sobriety. It may not always be an effortless process, but we will be with you every step of the way. This does not have to be done alone.

If you see signs of addiction within a coworker or employee, call our rehab in Massachusetts at 888-280-4763 to learn about our corporate recovery support.



  1. CDC – Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2020
  2. NIH – Trends & Statistics

Related Reading

Going Back to Work After Rehab: Tips That Can Help

How to Tell if an Employee Needs Treatment


Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.