In order to achieve a drug-and-alcohol-free workforce, you must take a comprehensive approach. The approach should include:
A Written Policy
Prepare and circulate a written statement for acknowledgement by all employees that illegal drug use will not be tolerated and that job performance deterioration resulting from abuse of legal drugs, including alcohol, will result in adverse personnel actions. The statement should explain that drug and alcohol abuse creates both economic and social consequences that are unacceptable to your community.
An Employee Assistance Program
Establish an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides counseling and referral programs, to be operated either by your own staff or by a contractor. The program should be operated in a confidential manner.
Employee Awareness and Education
Provide a drug orientation program to advise all employees of your organization’s policies and the drug-and-alcohol-related economic, health and legal liabilities that brought about the policy. Ongoing educational efforts to inform employees about the negative consequences of drug and alcohol abuse are also essential in changing their attitudes about the problem. This can be accomplished with meetings, brown bag lunches, and educational handouts.
Offer supervisors substance abuse training so those closest to the problem can be coached on the signs, symptoms, behavior changes, performance problems and intervention concepts attendant to drug and alcohol abuse.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Consider a drug and/or alcohol testing program to detect and deter drug and/or alcohol use or abuse. If testing is adopted, it should conform to proper procedures.
Determine the consequences for those who violate the policy. Will employees be terminated or offered rehabilitation? If the latter, will it be offered on a one-time basis only? Who will be responsible for the cost of the program, you or the employee? Differentiate among penalties for various policy violations. For example, most employers terminate employees who are involved in drug trafficking in the workplace, even though the employee is a drug user who would otherwise be a candidate for treatment.
Include an appeals process in the program, and clearly define it in the policy. Employees who disagree with positive drug test results should be allowed an opportunity to request a second test at their own expense. The second test should be conducted on the original urine sample or the second half of the original sample that was split for the specific purpose of a second test. A new urine sample should never be taken, since some drugs pass through the system quite rapidly and may be present one day and absent the next.
Monitor cost effectiveness and success of the program.
Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
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