Workplace Drug Testing

Say No to Drugs

Workplace drug testing makes good business sense and can have a significant impact on an employer’s bottom line. Drug testing reduces accidents and injuries, thereby reducing workers’ compensation and unemployment claims. Drug testing reduces absenteeism and health insurance claims and it increases performance, morale and productivity.
A typical “recreational drug user” in today’s workforce is:
*2.2 times more likely to request early dismissal or time off
*2.5 times more likely to have absences of eight or more days
*3.6 times more likely to be involved in an accident off the job (which in turn affects attendance or performance on the job)
*5 times more likely to file a workers compensation claim
*7 times more likely to have wage garnishments
*1/3 less productive
Based on these statistics, a single drug user in WA state will cost a company upwards of $14,946 per year!!
The key components of a company drug testing program include a clear policy which states the reasons and process for testing and the consequences for failure and it includes a good employee assistance program that posseses a clear and comprehensive understanding of drug and alcohol problems in the workplace.
While some employers choose to terminate an employee who tests positive, often a “last chance agreement” is best. It offers the employee a chance at rehabilitation and can potentially save a good employee who can return to high quality and productive performance once he or she is clean and sober.
Some companies offer only pre-employment drug testing while others also include post-accident, for cause (reasonable suspicion) and random testing. This is the best way to ensure a drug free workplace rather than just conducting pre-employment testing.
When the EAP works in conjunction with the employer or union as part of their drug testing program, we can conduct an initial drug and alcohol assessment, refer the employee for a second opinion assessment if needed, and then refer to a treatment program if required. If the employee is not found to require treatment, the employer will be notified that he is able to do a return to work test and then return to work. Usually, he will also sign a last chance agreement so if he tests positive again, he will be terminated. If the employee attends treatment, when ready, he will also do a return to work test and sign a last chance agreement. The EAP counselor will monitor his progress in treatment and after treatment is completed, for up to two years.
Often, the greatest chance for relapse is once the employee has completed treatment and loses the consistency of ongoing support. Our EAP ensures the employee is given as much support as needed to maintain sobriety.
We gave partnered with Drug Free Business, a non-profit company that provides drug testing at a very affordable rate, assistance with policies and third party management. For more information contact www.drugfreebusiness.org.
Employees are an employer’s most important asset. Drug testing can ensure a safe, productive workforce and a last chance agreement is a fair way to offer those with a drug problem, a chance to get help and save their job.
For more information about how your EAP can assist with drug testing, send us an email.

By |2010-10-08T16:22:56-07:00October 8th, 2010|Alcoholism, Drug Testing, Employee Assistance, Executives, Human Resources, Pre-employment, Small Business, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Workplace Drug Testing

AA Marks 75th Anniversary

For the past 75 years, Alcoholics Anonymous has been transforming lives through its 12-step recovery program. There are now more than 2 million members. AA was started in 1935 when two alcoholics- Dr. Bob, an Akron, Ohio doctor and Bill W., a New York stockbroker, created a confidential way for alcoholics to come together, share their stories and support each other. One of the bylaws included keeping confidentiality in order to make is safer for alcoholics to admit they had a problem and as a result, first names are only used. The famed “12 steps” to recovery is followed by members and has been a model for many alcohol treatment groups.
While chapters in different cities go by different names and specialize for certain populations such as women, men, sexual orientation, race, religion or profession, the message is the same: acceptance, anonymity, support, accountability and relying on a higher power.
Other 12-step groups have formed as offshoots from AA. These include NA (Narcotics Anonymous), DA (Debtors Anonymous) Alanon (for family members of alcoholics) as well as many more.
The belief in a higher power does not have to be a religious view, but rather the recognition of a kind of power higher than the self. The higher power referred to in AA could also be the complex dynamic of human interaction- the power of many over the power of one.

Founder, Bill W. believed that when addicts reach their “bottom”- job loss, financial ruin, legal difficulties. loss of a relationship, etc, he or she reaches a “softened” state of mind. It is this stage in their lives when addicts are willing to consider that they have become powerless over their use of addictive substances. At this point, their lives have become unmanageable and they have lost control.

Employers can have a profound impact on an employee’s recovery. If your company drug tests and they receive a “last chance agreement” requiring them to follow the recommendations of the Employee Assistance Program, this act may well be their “bottom”. As the employer, you are giving the employee the motivation to seek sobriety. Enabling or excusing addictive behavior allows the problem to increase. If you suspect an employee may have an alcohol or drug problem and your company does not do random or for cause drug testing, consult with the EAP. We can help you determine if there are performance issues and if so, you can refer the employee to the EAP for a performance issue and we can conduct an assessment to determine if there is also an addiction.
Employee safety should always be a primary concern so if an employee appears to be under the influence at work, have the employee removed from the job, tested or assessed and be sure they have a safe way to get home.

In over 35 years of providing EAP services, we have seen many employees lead sober and productive lives after attending AA meetings and/ or treatment programs. We know that despite the anger, resistance, excuses and denial, addicts live in a world of pain. Choosing to remain sober is the best choice an addict can make.
We will provide consultation, support and case management to employers and ongoing support to your employees throughout their journey towards recovery.

By |2010-08-19T21:34:21-07:00August 19th, 2010|Alcoholism, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AA Marks 75th Anniversary