New portal: addiction problems at work

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Website offers help with addiction problems in the workplace

Many employees have addiction problems that are also noticeable in their workplace. The use of addictive substances has immediate consequences for the world of work. Efficiency drops, the risk of accidents and injuries increases and the working atmosphere suffers. With a new internet portal, the largest German health insurers, Barmer GEK and the German Center for Addiction Issues (DHS) want to offer help to those responsible for human resources, those affected and their colleagues.

On Thursday, the Barmer GEK and the German Central Office for Addiction Issues have been providing information on the causes and consequences of addictive substance use in the workplace as well as on company addiction programs, preventive measures and methods of intervention since Thursday. Here superiors, colleagues and those affected receive information and support with problems with alcohol, medication or drugs at work, according to the Barmer GEK.

Addictive substance use in the workplace is a sensitive issue Addiction problems in the workplace are a sensitive issue that is swept under the table far too often. Although many companies now have a drug test carried out on new hires, addictions that only develop in the course of employment cannot be avoided in this way. Alcohol is also not included here as a legal addict. Dealing with those affected is often difficult for superiors and colleagues and many feel overwhelmed. In particular, the “managers are asked to act and intervene as early as possible, ie to intervene”, the statement on the new Internet portal. The use of addictive substances is a sensitive issue that should not be avoided, but must be actively addressed by the HR managers. The new website also shows options for intervention and for dealing with those affected in general.

Relationship between working conditions and addiction problems According to the expert at Barmer-GEK, Rüdiger Meierjürgen, the consumption of addictive substances in the workplace is often directly related to general working conditions. Many employees would “cope with addictive substances in times of turbulent changes in the working world, hectic pace and stress in working life,” explained Meierjürgen. With the new information portal, HR managers and employees should not only be made aware of the problems, but also receive practical help for prevention, intervention and dealing with those affected. Those affected will also find useful information and links to other advisory services here. The initiators of the internet portal also refer to the existing good "programs for the prevention of addiction problems at the workplace", in the development of which "a large number of committed employees in companies and administrations, advice and prevention agencies, in research institutions and institutes, company networks and health insurance companies" be involved.

Prevention of addiction problems at the workplace The topic of prevention and prevention also occupies an important position on the new Internet portal. On the one hand, measures for companies are presented "that serve to limit the use of addictive substances and reduce risks at the workplace". On the other hand, possibilities for "strengthening personal and social skills" are presented. The managing director of the German Central Office for Addiction Issues, Raphael Gaßmann, emphasized that the consequences of addictive substance use are often clearly noticeable in companies and that companies should therefore help out with such health problems out of self-interest.

The new website also discusses how addiction problems can be identified and the consequences. The Internet portal of the Barmer GEK and the DHS also offers, in addition to the pure information, practical help, such as discussion guides for the intervention or tips for implementing a company addiction program. (fp)

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Image: Paul-Georg Meister /

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