Utilizing an Employee Assistance Program to Combat Drug Abuse in the Workplace
There's an opioid addiction epidemic in our society, and it affects people from all walks of life, including your employees. Abuse of opioid painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin—often legally obtained by a physician—has reached crisis levels and opened the gateway to use of other drugs. Companies need to stay current with drug testing policies and expand existing testing panels to include commonly prescribed medications (opioids), as well as illicit drugs and alcohol. By testing for prescription drug abuse, an employer is, in essence, offering employees access to help and treatment. But while establishing a drug testing policy is important, it's often a limited first step. After all, a drug test only identifies use of a drug, not how to address the addiction or prevent one from developing. That's where an employee assistance program (EAP) can help.
EAPs became popular in the early 20th century as a way to combat workforce substance abuse, particularly industrial alcoholism. An EAP often serves as an extension of a company human resource team and provides a confidential outlet for employees who need assistance with a variety of life concerns, one of which is substance abuse. Having such a program available tells your employees that the company is not only invested in rooting out drug use, but is also invested in improving employees’ health and well-being.