About three in four drug or alcohol abusers have jobs – and they don’t leave their problems at the door when they arrive at work!
According to OSHA, an effective drug-free workplace program should have five components:
- A Drug-Free Workplace Policy. Your policy should include a stated purpose or rationale, a clear description of prohibited behaviors, and an explanation of the consequences of violating the policy
- Supervisor Training. Have your supervisors trained in understanding the policy and its implications, recognizing and dealing with employees who have substance-related performance problems, and referring these employees to available assistance. Make supervisors responsible for monitoring employee performance, staying alert to performance problems, and enforcing the policy.
- Employee Education. Effective education addresses company-specific details about the policy and program, together with general information about the nature of substance abuse; its impact on work, health, and personal life; and types of available assistance. You can provide education through safety meetings and training sessions, home mailings, workplace displays, brown-bag lunches, guest speakers, seminars, and new-hire orientation sessions.
- Workplace Assistance. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) offer an alternative to dismissal and minimize the employer’s legal vulnerability by demonstrating efforts to support substance-abusing workers who need help. EAPs provide counseling and referrals, plus other services such as supervisor training and employee education. If you don’t offer these services, maintain a resource file from which employees can access information about community-based resources, treatment programs, and help lines
- Drug Testing. The most common test is urinalysis. Other types are the breath-alcohol test, blood test, hair analysis, and saliva or sweat tests. Reasons for testing include pre-employment screenings, reasonable suspicions of use, post-accident, return-to-duty, random, and periodic tests. Private employers have latitude in implementing testing, unless they’re subject to federal regulations (for example, the U.S. Department of Transportation drug-testing rules for employees in safety-sensitive situations). Many employers use testing guidelines by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Finally, bear in mind that creating and implementing a successful drug-testing program takes time and patience!