Drug Abuse Prevention in the Workplace

Monday, August 26th, 2013


Drug abuse prevention in the workplace can be a serious issue. Statistics show that more than 75 percent of Americans who use drugs are employed. Promoting a drug free workplace helps maintain safety and productivity on the job, but it can also keep employees healthy and happy when they are not on the clock. Raising awareness about drug abuse prevention at work also helps to reduce stigma surrounding drug abuse, and may encourage more people to seek help if needed.

3 Tips for Workplace Drug Abuse Prevention

1.  Drug-free policies

Employers should create a clearly stated policy against drug abuse in the workplace. Ensure that all employees are aware of this program and understand how it is implemented. Establish what the procedures are if any employee is suspected to be on drugs. Employees should know what circumstances may require a drug test, and whether or not there is immediate termination should they test positive.

Drug abuse prevention policies should be posted in the workplace, and managers should always lead by example to indicate that drug abuse is not acceptable at work. As part of their initial training, new employees should spend some time learning the company policy on drug abuse. Any changes should be communicated to employees immediately, and continuing reminders about the policy can also be helpful.

2. Company wellness programs

Company wellness programs promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle and give employees an incentive to improve their well being. These programs can include gym memberships or educational opportunities. An effective method of drug abuse prevention is simply raising awareness. Through these programs, employers can reiterate the harmful effects of drug abuse, both on and off the job.

In addition to wellness programs, employers can offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). EAPs support employees who are dealing with substance abuse, stress, family problems, and more. Let employees know that they can seek confidential help for any drug abuse problems and they won’t risk their job by doing so. These types of programs can reduce substance abuse and boost employee health, ultimately benefiting everyone.

3. Health insurance coverage

Offer a health insurance plan that covers substance abuse screening, treatment, and aftercare can be an important step in drug abuse prevention. An affordable, comprehensive health plan may encourage employees to be aware of all aspects of their health, which can translate into preventative measures when it comes to drug abuse. As employees become more health-conscious, they may be less likely to abuse drugs.

Hopefully, most employees will not need to use these substance abuse services, but it is important to have them in place if necessary. Many people with substance abuse problems do not get the help they need, and the problem is swept under the rug. Drug abuse prevention means not only preventing the addiction in the first place, but also helping prevent relapse and helping those suffering from addiction to get the help they need.

Remember to respect your employees’ privacy. If an employee is battling drug abuse, make sure that your desire to help is in line with the company’s privacy policy.

By establishing a clear policy on drug abuse prevention, providing employee wellness programs, and offering comprehensive health care plans, an employer shows that they care about the health of their employees. These actions may ideally result in less people abusing drugs, both at home and at work.