Because addiction is a secretive activity, the first awareness outside the family is mainly at work, where rising costs of absentecism, injuries, damage to, and stealing of, company property reveal the problem, without offering alleviation. Government drugs advice centres and methadone substitution approaches have provided no lasting cures, the major reason being that true cures cost money – not as much as sustaining the habit, but enough to be politically uncomfortable. Whether employers know it or not, drugs and alcohol are already costing them heavily, and it is increasingly being recognized that such involuntary spending – if deliberately channelled into procuring real cures – can provide one of the few effective ways forward. Examines why counselling has so far achieved only limited employer acceptance and, based on field experience, shows what needs to be done.
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