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April is Alcohol Awareness Month. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence recommends having a Prohibition weekend – No alcohol or drugs from Friday through Monday. At the end of the weekend, you evaluate how difficult it was to go without any alcohol or drugs. Did you have headaches and trouble sleeping over the weekend? Any sweating or nausea? Possibly not make it all the way through the weekend without drinking or popping pills? If the “dry weekend” was a challenge, you might have a dependence issue.
Link Between Alcohol and Drugs
Studies have shown that people who are dependent on alcohol are likely to also use drugs. The reverse is also true, people with drug dependence are prone to drinking. This is not all that surprising since they are both addiction issues.
It is not unusual for people to have a drink after a hard day at work to unwind and relax. A nice glass of wine or an ice-cold beer, especially on a hot day. A lot of people get together and drink socially on the weekends or for special occasions. There are lots of responsible ways to enjoy alcohol.
Unfortunately, a lot of people use drugs and alcohol to escape their problems and deal with stress. The Covid pandemic and resulting controlling measures that were put into place to try to deal with the virus caused a spike in drug overdoses. The number of people using drugs and alcohol to excess in an effort to cope rose dramatically. Deaths from drug overdoses also rose over the last two years.
The problem with abusing drugs and alcohol is that it doesn’t just affect the person doing the abusing. If it is a parent of children still at home, there can be physical abuse when they lose their temper. Maybe “just” neglect because they can’t provide the necessary care because they are too wasted to care for the children. Mental abuse and neglect. Addiction is the gift that just keeps on giving…misery.
Employment is usually a challenge for the addicted. Some can control their drinking and drug use until after working hours, others cannot. They are usually fired for getting caught using/drinking on the job, missing too many days of work (from calling out due to hangovers), or being unable to get along with co-workers/management.
The liability of having an employee who is addicted to drugs or alcohol should be of great concern to an employer. Even if they are not actively using while on the job, their judgment and reflexes can still be impaired the next day depending on the severity of the usage the night before. Did they get enough sleep? Do they smell like a brewery? Are there still drugs in their system? They can damage equipment, get themselves hurt, or worse, hurt someone else. As their employer, you would be liable for their actions while they are at work.
How to Protect Your Company?
If your company deals with the Department of Transportation (DOT), you are already familiar with the DOT Drug Testing requirement. You must have a system in place for conducting random drug testing on a set schedule and documenting everything. Depending upon the size of your operation, that can be expensive and quite an administrative headache.
Even if your business doesn’t employ CDL drivers or deal with the DOT, implementing a program like the DOT Consortium Drug TPA for your company is a good insurance policy. Having a pre-hiring drug screening policy can save you headaches later on. Rather than deal with the fallout of an employee on drugs, wouldn’t it be better to have not hired them in the first place? Also, having a random testing policy in place gives you the option to catch things as they pop up.
But you are busy running your company and don’t have time to deal with all the scheduling, testing, and tracking. That is where a DOT Drug Testing Consortium comes into play. An independent lab, like IPE Screening, administers the program for you. No matter what type of testing you need to do, IPE Screening can help you administer your program and control your costs. More information is available here or give IPE Screening a call at 417-881-2522.