Drugs? Who's on drugs?

Relentless propaganda regarding drugs has made them a national obsession. Here is an article with good advice on the steps to follow once you detect a turn for the worse in an employee, but the idea of ascribing ambiguous symptoms to drug abuse in the absence of other evidence is dubious. Aside from someone who is “particularly energetic or talkative after breaks or lunch,” presumably indicating stimulant abuse, the “warning signs” of drug abuse cited here are largely indistinguishable from other signs of a person’s life coming apart.
Yes, drugs are a problem but is it really productive to immediately assume a person’s sudden weight loss is due to drugs? Things like cancer can produce that too. Slurred speech?  Diabetes or a stroke, among other things, can cause that. Regardless of the cause, any of the warning signs in this article dictate supervisory attention. Concern for an employee’s welfare is certainly a better starting point than reflexively suspecting drug abuse. Keeping your mind open about cause until the facts are in is the most prudent course to follow.
Regardless, once the signs are evident, the supervisory steps to take are the same regardless of cause: document, seek professional advice, and approach the person. Once you make a reasonable determination of cause, then work out a plan.


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