What Hasn’t Worked in Promoting Drug-Free Workplaces
American society, especially employers and employees and including young people, has gotten the message and fully understands that heroin, cocaine, LSD and methamphetamines, and even tobacco are addictive and dangerous, and a serious threat to health. That message has been successful. Less successful has been the message on the use of marijuana and the misuse of prescription drugs. In recent years, we have seen alarming trends in terms of usage, but also in terms of the public misunderstanding of the dangerous and addictive nature of these drugs, and the severe health and safety consequences of their escalating use and of dependency on them. This is having a corresponding negative impact in the workplace despite employers’ best efforts.
What Has Worked in Promoting Drug-Free Workplaces
Employers have gotten religion on substance-abuse prevention. The serving of alcohol is much less prevalent at company functions. Drug education and awareness programs are much more common, more comprehensive and better. The nexus between substance abuse and workplace safety and health – and employee health overall – is better understood and appreciated. Employee Assistance Programs are now the norm, not the exception, compared to 25 years ago. But more importantly and effectively, job-applicant and employee drug-testing are now the norm – and an effective and cost-effective tool for preventing substance abuse and creating incentives for individuals to stop – or not start- using drugs illicitly. Drug testing works – it is that simple.