November 2010
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Signs of substance abuse

Signs of substance abuse

Employers can't be with their employees 24/7, but they can observe workers' appearances and behaviors to watch for any red flags.

Following are some signs of substance abuse from www.drugfree.org that employers should keep in mind:

  • Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than usual
  • Slurred or agitated speech
  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions or bruises
  • Neglected appearance or poor hygiene
  • Frequently calling in sick or missing work
  • Accidents or injuries
  • Emotional instability or unexplained changes in personality
  • Hyperactive or extremely aggressive behavior
  • Depression
  • Failing to fulfill work responsibilities
  • Complaints from co-workers
  • Reports of intoxication at work
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Unusual smells on clothing or breath
  • Disappearing for long periods of time


This Web exclusive information is a supplement to A safer workplace.

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