The Time for Employee Substance Abuse Training

With all the current news about heroin addiction on the rise and over-the-counter drug abuse to the growing and serious addiction to opiates, an employer should really be concerned today that their workforce, now more than ever, is drug free! It’s an obligation not a choice.

From small New England townships to San Diego’s DEA agents, heroin is on the rise with younger users and the cost is minimal from $8.00 a dose and a typical user maybe at 10 doses a day, a dealer can be texted and a delivery will be on its way.

Many addicts of opiates started with a broken bone or an outpatient surgery, due to the cost of being hospitalized, a patient is sent on their way with a prescription for Oxycontin or vicodin.

Once the prescription runs out, the black market kicks in with bold, blatant ads for those in pain, to order over the internet or to arrange to meet a dealer on a street corner to get their “fix” which now has turned into an addiction.

From the Carolinas to Illinois, nurses, police officers, attorneys and religious leaders are showing up at detox wards desperate to stop the addition that rages inside of them. And again, it usually starts with a powerful prescription after an accident or a surgery.

Employee drug abuse and alcohol addiction affects all employees in the workplace. The impact can be damaging in many functional areas of the company not to mention the clean employee’s, negative attitudes as a result of feeling that management is not doing anything to correct or address the problem.

Considering sending the employee to a treatment program has its positives; after completing a treatment program, the employee will be able to perform better at work, managing their workload and working more efficiently with less tardiness or absents.

Let’s face it, retraining and rehiring has a significant and fixed costs attached to it; morally it may make more sense to treat, and train the workforce on what to look out for in a potentially addicted employee and how to properly handle the situation once it has been brought to management’s attention.

In CA especially, if an employer has more than 25 employees, the company must reasonably accommodate an employee who admits and volunteers to enter an alcohol or drug rehab program; the reasonable accommodation must not impose an undue hardship on the employer.

It is wise and proactive to engage your managers, supervisors and employees to substance abuse training and prevention to create a drug-free workplace with a mandatory provision in your company’s policy handbook which is in compliance with all employment laws.

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