New Kit Helps Employers Tackle Workplace Drug Use

April 30, 2008
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed a drug-free workplace kit to provide public and private places of employment with practical, evidence-based information, resources and tools for producing and maintaining drug-free workplace policies and programs.

The health- and wellness-focused kit, which is free of charge, addresses problems with on-the-job substance abuse by explaining what employers should do to protect and prepare the workplace, identify substance abuse related-issues and provide prevention education and assistance to employees.

In addition, the kit discusses the importance of understanding the legal aspects of the problem as well as how to build a team, assess the workplace, develop a policy and plan and implement a program to address illicit substance use and abuse in the work force. It also provides guidance on setting up systems for evaluating the program’s effectiveness.

“Almost 75 percent of current illicit drug users and 79 percent of heavy drinkers aged 18 or older are employed,” said SAMHSA Administrator Terry L. Cline, Ph.D. “We want to help employers understand there are some very simple steps they can take to prevent these problems and assist employees in need of help. “

The kit, according to Cline, was developed using experiences from large and small employers, practitioners, researchers and evaluators in the field, and includes approaches that are listed in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.

White House “Drug Czar” John Walters, director of the National Drug Control Policy, said that although results from nationwide workplace drug tests demonstrate a significant progress in reducing drug use among U.S. workforce, more needs to be done.

“Substance abuse is costly and dangerous for American businesses, employees, and consumers, costing businesses estimated billions of dollars a year,” Walters said. “Employers of all sizes should take advantage of the multiple opportunities and resources, like this kit, to educate their workforce on the negative consequences of substance abuse.”

The kit has nine pullout brochures, 13 fact sheets, a bumper sticker, and two 18x24-inch posters for display in workplaces. To access and download the online version of the kit, go to http://www.workplace.samhsa.gov/WPWorkit/index.html.

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