Definition of addiction and dependence

Alcotech,alcosense, lion SD 400,lion SD 500, medixThe term “addiction”is bandied about with increasing frequency. But what is the exact scope of drug addiction and dependence and is your organisation really affected by it? CMM Technology offers an accurate definition as well as advice on how best to negotiate addiction to drugs in the workplace setting.

Any number of definitions for drug addiction and dependence are available on the internet. A brief search uncovers literally hundreds of explanations that seek to outline the main factors and issues that comprise this complex illness. But perhaps the most definitive of all can be sourced at the World Health Organisation website.

According the WHO, “addiction – drug or alcohol – is the repeated use of a psychoactive substance or substances, to the extent that the user (referred to as an addict) is periodically or chronically intoxicated. He/she shows a compulsion to take the preferred substance (or substances) and has great difficulty in voluntarily ceasing or modifying substance use and exhibits determination to obtain psychoactive substances by almost any means.” [1]

The site also goes on to explain that addiction is a disease or illness, a debilitating disorder that has the capacity to wreak havoc on the individual sufferer. It can also therefore have a detrimental impact on society and any community where the addicted individual interacts.

In the 1960’s the WHO advised that “dependence” replace the term “addiction” which has varying degrees of severity and expression.  The DSM-IIIR – the benchmark common language and standard criteria for mental disorders, also defines “dependence” as “a cluster of cognitive, behavioural and physiologic symptoms that indicate a person has impaired control of psychoactive substance use and continued use of the substance despite adverse consequences.”[2]

THE impact of dependence or addiction on the workplace can therefore be severe and serious. A list of consequent fallout from a drug or alcohol dependent in the workplace includes:

  • Disrupted workplace relations
  • Increased mistrust
  • Increased dishonesty
  • Lateness and tardiness
  • Poor work quality
  • Increased pressure on surrounding workers
  • Increased resentment
  • Stealing
  • Reduced work performance
  • Safety issues
  • Safety compromises
  • Increasing potential for accidents
  • Injury and harm to other workers
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Poor workplace ethics
  • Increased absence
  • Job replacement and new staff training

Addiction or dependence in the workplace can therefore erode your profits and your performance and in worst case scenarios lead to accident or even death.  According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, high levels of dependence on a drug such as alcohol means that workplaces need to implement “effective and appropriate workplace policies to address risky work-related drinking.”[3]

CMM Technology understands your workplace requirements concerning drug and alcohol dependence. It knows you need to safeguard against increased risk and accident due to dependence and it understands that a sound drug and alcohol policy that includes testing can minimise “dependence impact” in your workplace or organisation.  Be sure to contact CMM Technology for the latest and most advanced testing technologies. These can help you to increase profits and performance and maintain a workplace culture of the highest standards.

For more information contact CMM Technology on 08 9204 2500


[1] http:www.who.int/substance_abuse/terminology/who_lexicon/en/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders

[3] http://www.nisu.flinders.edu.au/pubs/reports/2006/injcat82.pdf

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