Employers can manage substance use in the workplace through various preventative measures. Implementing company policy forbidding the use of drugs and alcohol at work is a useful preliminary step. However, it is also positive to promote a culture of health and wellbeing in the workplace, focusing on job satisfaction and proactive management of work-related stress.
Providing education on drug addiction and alcoholism can empower employees to make healthy decisions or identify co-workers who may be in trouble. Encouraging open communication around drug or alcohol use may also allow staff to step forward if they believe they have a problem or suspect a colleague is in need of assistance. Furthermore, studies indicate that workplaces offering a supportive, drug-free environment are more likely to discourage a relapse for those recovering from addiction.Additional methods may include regular alcohol or drug testing, with companies conducting mandatory screening administered according to federal regulations for workplace drug testing programs.
Protocols should be drafted around managing circumstances where positive test results arise, with employers needing to be cognizant of the sensitivities involved. Since the inception of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) around fifty years ago, an increasing number of companies have opted to implement these structures to manage such situations. As many as 77% of US companies now offer support to employees through an EAP.