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Elements of a Drug-Free Program

An effective drug-free program consists of five elements that, together, provide a full, comprehensive management and training program designed specifically to meet the needs of your company. Companies can and do start at different places with their drug-free programs, depending on their special needs. Working Partners® can help your company get started with a drug-free program that's right for you, or help you put in place the right processes for maintaining your program, depending upon your specific situation.

  1. A Written Substance Abuse Policy
    This serves as an executive summary of the substance abuse program. It sets the tone of the program, outlines the responsibilities of employer and employee, references available help, and explains the program including prohibited conduct, types and circumstances of testing, and the consequences for violations. For a drug-free safety program to be effective, all the parameters and procedures will have been thoughtfully developed and then articulated in a user-friendly policy statement for employees, along with detailed operational guidelines and accompanying appendices (forms) for use by management.

  2. Employee Awareness & Education
    Employees are made aware of and receive education about the policy, responsibilities, consequences, alcohol and drug information, their rights, and the resources available to them through the company and community if they (or one of their family members) need help.

  3. Supervisor Training
    Supervisors need to be trained in their role within the company's substance abuse program. They should receive training about the impact of alcohol and drugs on the workplace; how to recognize, document and confront a possible substance abuse problem; the company policy and procedures; how to refer a troubled employee to available resources and/or testing; and how to support an employee returning from treatment.

  4. An Employee Assistance Plan of Action
    An employer needs to identify a plan of action and the applicable resources for employees who seek help on their own, are referred by management for a possible problem with alcohol/drugs, or have a positive alcohol/drug test. The possibilities range from a comprehensive contract with an external Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider to knowledge of the community service network that is subsidized with tax dollars.

  5. Drug and Alcohol Testing (as appropriate)
    Systems presence testing (drug and alcohol testing) serves as the scientific, objective evidence that a certain level of substance exists within the employee's system. However, decisions about testing must balance the cost and practicalities of testing with the benefits of testing. An employer has a myriad of decisions to make about their drug-free testing program. These include questions such as when they will test (there are 25 different options including pre-employment, random, etc.), who will be tested, what drugs will be tested for, what are the appropriate cut-off levels, what protocols and laboratory will be used, etc.

Getting started