Implementing a drug-free workplace means understanding more than just how to educate employees about the inherent dangers of substance abuse. It means being able to offer meaningful recovery support that contributes to positive outcomes when employees are referred for help and when they self-refer. Research shows that employees in recovery are more successful when they feel they can communicate openly about the problem and receive support.
Create a Drug-Free Program That’s Successful and Supportive
The first step to a successful drug-free workplace program is adequate support for the employees covered by the program. That means putting referral and education resources in place that offer meaningful ways employees can advocate for themselves. This includes both a great set of referral resources and also clear policies that incentivize employee self-referral and successful recovery management.
It’s easy to institute drug testing and to make it clear that your workplace must remain drug-free. It’s much harder to make sure employees who do have substance abuse problems are able to access the proper help they need to take care of those problems. When you help employees in recovery, you make it more likely that your drug-free workplace program will succeed, for many reasons:
- Employees are more likely to seek help rather than hiding substance abuse issues
- Employees may seek help with alcohol or prescription drug use that has not yet escalated to direct violations of workplace policy, averting future safety concerns
- Recovery is more successful and relapses are fewer when employees understand the process that exists to support them getting back on track
- Protecting employees who successfully seek out recovery resources helps ensure proper observation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Ongoing Education on Multiple Fronts
Clear and ongoing communication with your staff is key to establishing an effective drug-free workplace policy. Make sure that your ongoing training and education efforts include the following information:
- The list of banned substances and the testing procedure used to enforce the policy
- Information about self-referrals, the referral process for management, and treatment options offered
- Clear information about how employee performance evaluations and employee participation in substance abuse recovery programs will be viewed together
- Information about both the consequences for violating policy and the resources available to assist employees
Understand the Law
When designing your drug-free policy, make sure you understand the provisions in the Drug Free Workplace Act and how they operate within your industry. Employees at every level, including human resource professionals, need to understand whether their industry is mandated to have a drug-free workplace policy. They also need to know how provisions in the law assist employees in recovery who are trying to get help.
When you give employees the support they need when struggling with substance use, you not only increase the likelihood of their successful recovery, but you foster a more engaged and productive workforce as well. Do you want to learn how your organization can offer recovery support to its employees? Contact Mazzitti and Sullivan EAP to customize an employee assistance program that will meet your company’s needs.