We have had our share of drug addicted employees over the last year. Many were productive salespeople and kept their problems from being our problems, except when they didn’t. That is when we reviewed our policy, fine tuned it and began testing all new hires, anyone suspected of drug use and anyone involved in any kind of accident or mishap.
It is my observation that our industry either attracts people with addictive personalities or drives more people to use illicit drugs. Might it be the rejection of 8 out of 10 prospects, the long hours, or the tough customers? The drug of choice seems to range from percocet or oxycodone to cocaine. With many of the users it has been difficult to detect the use until a pattern of tardiness, anxiety, impatience, borrowing from fellow employees, or similar develops.
In a couple of instances the individual has made their way around the store borrowing nominal sums of money from fellow employees using various excuses. None suspecting the true reason or that others have been duped as well.I have heard from a close competitor that one of their employees went as far as visiting customers homes asking for cash, telling various fictional stories.
Our policy is to try to work with the effected individual as long as they acknowledge their problem and seek treatment. The company we contract with for testing offers counseling and assistance. If the employee continues to deny drug use in spite of test evidence we are forced to part ways and leave them to their own devices.
I am interested in whether other dealers see this as a problem, and if so what policies and procedures are working and if we as an industry should be doing anything about the problem. Our experience indicates preventing the infiltration of users through pre-employment testing to be the best protection, however I know many large and small stores that either don’t care or don’t know a problem exists in their establishment. Do dealers need education on how to identify affected individuals. Do they need to be warned of the damage this does to their healthy employees and their customers?