The CDC reported that in 2017 over 72,000 people died from an opioid overdose. Addiction to opioids is widespread across the USA, it’s very hard to say how many Americans have struggled with addiction. Researchers say that two-thirds of opioid addicts have jobs, and probably a few of them work for you.
The cost of drug addiction impacts a company tremendously from productivity to absenteeism.
The U.S. Surgeon General started urging employers to join the battle, and the Chamber of Commerce Foundation has launched a campaign against opioid abuse, with information and case studies employers can use in their own efforts to tackle the problem.
“Employees are worried about losing their jobs so, even in companies with really good EAP [employee assistance programs], they won’t come forward,” notes Michael Cartwright, AAC’s co-founder, CEO “You need to create a culture of honest communication, where people aren’t afraid to speak up.”
There are a couple of ways that employers can protect themselves from employees abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Employees can have a reasonable suspicion program, a reasonable suspicion test is performed when supervisors have an indication or reasonable cause to suspect an employee of drug and/or alcohol use. The indication is based upon direct observation, either by a supervisor or another employee. Reasons for reasonable suspicion testing include physical signs of illegal substance use, abnormal behavior, confusion and an inability to complete routine tasks.
Reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing should be a part of your company’s policy. All supervisory managers should receive a minimum of two (2) hours of training on reasonable suspicion signs, symptoms and documentation. Regular training is suggested to keep managers educated and prepared for when the need arises. Noble Diagnostics offers reasonable suspicion training via online or in person.
Decisions should always be made based on current symptoms.
Observations may happen just before, during or just after the employee is working. If the employee’s previous symptoms have been documented, include that information in the current documented observation is acceptable. However, in the absence of current signs and symptoms, a reasonable suspicion drug test would generally not be helpful on a past incident. Evaluate the current signs and symptoms and document them accordantly.
Another program that employers can implement in the workplace is having a random drug and/or alcohol testing program. With a random drug and/or alcohol testing program employees will be randomly drug and/or alcohol tested to see if they are currently abusing any kind of drugs/ alcohol. Random drug and/or alcohol testing can be customized, it can be monthly to quarterly.
Employers must also have strong drug and/or alcohol testing programs, and employees must be removed from safety-sensitive duties immediately after they violate drug and alcohol testing rules. When employers follow the correct procedures they will be able to detect and see if their employees are abusing drugs/ alcohol.
Every company is different and at Noble Diagnostics we understand that you might have different needs. If so, please contact us at 877-200-5616 so that we can better discuss your company’s needs and implement a drug and alcohol testing program today.