Based on a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the overall rate of illicit drug use in the United States rose from 8% in 2008 to 8.7% in 2009 (among Americans aged 12 and older). The higher numbers are believed to be the result of greater marijuana use.
The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that other forms of substance abuse are on the rise, too:
Nonmedical use of prescription drugs - 2.8% in 2009 (from 2.5% in 2008)
Number of past-month ecstasy users – 760,000 in 2009 (from 555,000 in 2008)
Number of methamphetamine users - 502,000 in 2009 (from 314,000 in 2008)
Drug-Free Work Week is October 18-24, the perfect time to build awareness and take specific steps that will positively impact your company’s safety and productivity. Here are some ways you can make the most of it:
• Implement a drug-free workplace program – Make this the week you launch a program, if you don’t already have one. Employee handbook software can help you develop a solid, legally approved drug-free policy. You’ll also want to let applicants know your workplace is drug-free by applying drug-free applicant stickers to your job applications.
• Promote your drug-free workplace program - Once you have a program, you’ve got to get the word out and get employees involved. Hand out substance abuse fact sheets to remind employees about the effects substance abuse can have on the workplace.
• Train supervisors on their role in the workplace - Ensure supervisors understand your policies for handling substance abuse with a supervisor-specific handbook that outlines what they can and cannot do if they suspect abuse among their employees.
• Remind employees about the availability of employee-assistance services - These free, confidential services can help employees get the help they need to overcome substance abuse problems.
• Offer health screenings - Let employees know about the resources available to them to evaluate whether they have a substance abuse problem. Also, consider giving employees disposable alcohol detectors during holiday breaks when alcohol consumption is more likely, and encourage them to test alcohol levels before driving.
• Review your health insurance policy - Employees are more likely to seek help if your policy includes coverage for substance abuse treatment. Consider the cost benefit of adding such coverage over the cost of an accident and lost productivity.
• Create a drug-free workplace display - Dedicate an area of your workplace, such as a breakroom bulletin board, for raising awareness of your drug-free workplace policy with substance abuse posters.
• Feature Drug-Free Work Week in the employee newsletter or intranet - This feature can contain helpful information about the impact of drugs on the workplace, sources of help, and things workers can do if they think a colleague may have a substance abuse problem.
• Distribute a payroll message listing helplines or a reminder about Drug-Free Work Week for employees – Let employees know about Drug-Free Work Week with a notice that includes a list of resources available to them.
• Hold a social event celebrating safety and health - Put together a pizza lunch or other worktime activity to help blow off some steam … and reinforce the message that drugs and alcohol aren’t necessary to relax.
• Allow employees time to volunteer in community drug-prevention efforts - Organize a team of volunteers to help support local drug-prevention programs, or grant time off for employees who are involved in other drug-awareness and prevention efforts.