No two workplaces are the same, and no two employers will take exactly the same approach to addressing alcohol and other drug abuse. The chart below shows a number of options for starting or expanding a drug-free workplace program.
Some employers may be interested in only one component; others may want to implement several or all of them. The decision will depend on the level of concern about the problem, the potential for alcohol and other drug abuse at the worksite, and the available resources. Remember, there is no one "right" way to start a drug-free workplace program.
Each component in the chart is explained in greater detail in the following sections of this kit. Taken together, they provide a comprehensive approach to developing a drug-free workplace program.
Components of a Drug-Free Workplace Program
As with any other organizational change, assessment is the first step. A careful needs assessment can lead to early program success. The needs of an employer with 200 employees, 75 of whom drive company vehicles, will be very different from the needs of an employer with only 8 employees who work all day on computers. Local resources also will vary from one community to the next. For help with assessing needs and resources, see
Drug Free Workplace Programs.
A written policy tells everyone the organizations position on alcohol and other drug abuse and explains what will happen if the policy is violated. This is the central component of most programs.
Employers often ask if they can "borrow" another employers policy and tailor it to their workplace. While this is certainly possible, it is best to draft a policy that meets your own organizations specific needs. Many employers find it helpful to involve supervisors and employee and union representatives in drafting a policy. These people can offer practical ideas and help to write a well-rounded policy. In general, employees who contribute to a policy are more likely to willingly comply with it. Theyll also be better able to explain it to others.
A plan for introducing the drug-free workplace program to employees and for informing them about alcohol- and other drug-related issues will be important to the programs overall success. The educational components in this kit provide the basic facts about alcohol and other drug abuse and guidelines for informing and educating employees.
For help with the educational component of a drug-free workplace program,
see Employee Education.
If your organization has managers or supervisors, they can provide valuable support in introducing and carrying out a drug-free workplace program. They cannot do it alone, however; they will need guidance, direction, and support.
For assistance with training supervisors, work group managers, or union representatives,
see Supervisor Training.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
An EAP is one way for an organization to offer help to employees with personal problems, including problems with alcohol and other drugs. This component can be a sign of employer support and a source of improved productivity. Although not every employer will want or be able to afford an EAP, it is worth considering. Low-cost options for offering an EAP are available, making this component within reach even for companies with limited resources.
Some employers believe that a drug-free workplace program and drug testing are the same. In fact, drug testing is only one possible component of a drug-free workplace program.
Drug testing has its place and can be helpful. It can also be a source of controversy, anxiety, and concern among employers and employees. Therefore, it is a big decision. A successful drug testing program requires careful planning, consistently applied procedures, strict confidentiality, and provisions for appeal.
For detailed information about drug testing,
see Drug Testing.
Drug-Free Workplaces: No Two Are the Same
Many options for creating a drug-free workplace program are
available to employers. The Employer Tip Sheets in this kit are designed to help you make
the best choices to protect your organization and the health and welfare of your
employees. Just as no two businesses or organizations are exactly alike, no two drug-free
workplace programs will be the same. Shape your drug-free workplace program to meet the
needs of your organization -- for now and for the future.