5 Ways Your Addiction Can Endanger Others

Author: IAFF Staff

November 20, 2017

You may already have an idea of how your addiction puts your health and life in danger. But have you considered how it can put others in jeopardy? Whether you’re struggling with alcohol, drugs or both, your addiction can put others in physical, financial or emotional danger:

1. On the Job

If you come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it will affect your alertness, physical strength, vision and other functions that are essential to your profession. As a result, your ability to perform your job can be drastically hindered, putting lives at risk.


2. Co-Workers

If your fellow fire fighters are unaware of your condition, they will likely trust that you’re well enough to perform to your full potential. If you’re unable to give 100 percent of yourself to a team effort because of the effects of substance addiction, you’re putting your co-workers in harm’s way. Whether you’re backing up the fire fighter on the nozzle or performing a team search, you must be completely focused and sober. Your addiction could jeopardize the entire crew.

3. The Public

Driving while impaired is dangerous for you and others on or near roads, including pedestrians:

You have sworn to protect the public, not endanger them.

4. Your Family

The people you live with will inevitably be influenced by your addiction in some way. They’ll want to help you get the treatment you need, and carrying this weight can leave them feeling stressed, anxious or even depressed. These potential risks might leave you thinking it’s better to keep your addiction a secret and hope it’s never exposed, but hiding an addiction is far worse than confronting it. If your addiction leads to death or suicide, your loved ones wouldn’t just be left with grief or feelings of betrayal. They’d be left with unbearable guilt that they didn’t know, and anger that they didn’t get the chance to help you.

5. Financially

Addictions can be expensive, with some costing thousands of dollars every year. If you have family members to provide for, the money you spend on drugs or alcohol can deplete the funds needed to meet their needs. As a result, your family’s health and safety could be compromised.

Addiction can be a powerful force, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat it. The IAFF Center of Excellence offers several individualized treatment programs to address the varying needs associated with substance use disorder. In recovery, you can wake up with more peace of mind, knowing that your efforts on the job and time with your family won’t be hindered by substances. Call today to speak with someone who can help.

We can help. Call 855-900-8437 or

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