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Raising Employee Awareness of Drug and Alcohol Misuse

Published by: LifeWorks,

Educating all employees about alcohol and other drug abuse sends a positive message that your organization cares, and that everyone needs to be involved in supporting prevention and recovery. Employee education can also foster a spirit of cooperation.

What can you do?

Educate yourself. It’s important to set a good example; take time to understand what addiction is, and notice any stereotypes you hold. The more familiar and understanding you are of addiction, the better help you will be. Get comfortable talking about addiction, and remember it is not a character flaw.

Spread the word. Raising awareness among employees about substance use and offering the appropriate resources to employees in need, can help support a safe and healthy workplace for all.

Educate employees about addiction. Remind employees that there is a wealth of up-to-date information available. The more familiar people are with drug and alcohol abuse, what it looks like, and how it impacts individuals and families, the better able they will be to help those who may be struggling.

Challenge stereotypes. Knowledge helps dispel myths and stereotypes about addiction. It also helps raise awareness of dangers about the current epidemic of prescription drug misuse, and the growing opioid abuse crisis that is striking families worldwide. It is likely that you have employees whose lives have been touched by substance abuse, this is a common problem for many people, so get familiar with having conversations and breaking the stigma.

Foster use of the assistance program. Make sure employees know how to contact their assistance program and encourage them to take advantage of the confidential support for themselves or an immediate family member. Assistance programs offer confidential assessments, short-term counselling, and referrals to local resources. They have been found to be highly effective in supporting employees and their loved ones struggling with addiction.

Remind your team of their health benefits. If your organization offers health benefits with comprehensive coverage for addiction, be sure employees are aware of this. These benefits might include coverage for an addiction assessment, treatment, and/or counselling.

Encourage support groups. Break the stigma and encourage programs or support groups in your workplace that would benefit employees and their families who may be struggling with addiction or are in recovery. Such programs, whether they take place in person or online, have been shown to be highly effective.

Recognize signs of work stress. Be aware that there are factors in the workplace that might contribute to employee substance abuse. Work stress and a culture where drinking is the norm, are two contributing factors. Encourage employees to take advantage of stress-management resources available through your organization’s assistance program.

Be positive. Send the message that seeking help is a positive step forward. The stigma of substance abuse can keep many people from seeking treatment. Raising awareness among employees about substance abuse and offering the appropriate resources to employees in need lifts the stigma and helps support a safe and healthy workplace for all.

Make your employees feel loved