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November 3, 2008    DOL Home > OASP > Working Partners   
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Drug-Free Work Week

Drug-Free Work Week

Drug-free Work Week - October 20 - 26, 2008

Mark your calendars!
Drug-Free Work Week 2008
will be held October 20-26.


Ideas for Individual Employers and Their Employees

Employers and workers who conduct these or any other activities in recognition of Drug-Free Work Week, however small in scope, are encouraged to let us know. A listing of ideas will be developed for others to browse when planning for future Drug-Free Work Weeks. (Any references to people’s or companies’ names will be deleted.)

  • Implement a Drug-Free Workplace ProgramDrug-Free Work Week is the perfect time to launch a Drug-Free Workplace Program if your organization does not already have one. Such programs are natural complements to other initiatives that help protect worker safety and health. To learn more about them, visit DOL's Working Partners Web site. In particular, the site's Drug-Free Workplace Advisor Program Builder offers detailed guidance on how to develop a Drug-Free Workplace Program, starting with the first step: a written policy.
  • Promote your Drug-Free Workplace Program – If your organization already has a Drug-Free Workplace Program, Drug-Free Work Week is a logical time to ensure the program is adequate to meet current needs and to remind employees about its important role in keeping them safe while on the job. One way to do this is to distribute to all employees a copy of your drug-free workplace policy, along with a positive message about valuing health and safety, and then provide an opportunity for them to ask questions about it, perhaps through an open forum or privately.
  • Train supervisors - Supervisors are the individuals closest to an organization’s workforce. As part of Drug-Free Work Week, organizations can conduct training to ensure supervisors understand their organization's policy on alcohol and drug use; ways to deal with workers who have performance problems that may be related to substance abuse; and how to refer employees to available assistance. Working Partners offers more information on Supervisor Training, including ready-to-use training materials. New this year is the First-Line Fact Sheet, which educates supervisors about how to take appropriate action when a worker may be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Educate workers - To achieve a drug-free workplace, it is critical that an organization educate its workers about the nature of alcohol and drug use and its negative impact on workplace safety and productivity. Drug-Free Work Week is a natural time to step up such efforts through training sessions, guest speakers or brown-bag lunches. Working Partners offers more information on Employee Training, including ready-to-use training materials. New resources available this year include Fast Facts (an informational card for employees about their role in keeping their worksite drug and alcohol free) and a series of five Tool Box Talks (brief speeches intended for delivery by foreman on construction worksites).
  • Remind employees about the availability of EAP or MAP services - If your organization has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Member Assistance Program (MAP), Drug-Free Work Week presents a perfect opportunity to remind them of its availability. Such programs offer free, confidential services to help all employees, including supervisors, resolve personal and workplace problems, such as substance abuse. They also offer confidential substance abuse screenings as well as brief intervention, if warranted, and help employees locate local treatment resources. Working Partners offers more information about EAPs.
  • Offer health screening - Organizations can use Drug-Free Work Week to encourage employees to assess their own use of alcohol and drugs and privately determine if they need help to change their behavior. For example, organizations can inform employees about the confidential, self-administered online screening tool Alcohol and make sure all employees have access to the Internet in a private location in case they want to use it. Availability of confidential substance abuse screenings by qualified professionals could also be publicized and offered by the EAP health unit, and/or occupational nurse.
  • Publicize available community treatment resources - Whether or not an organization has an onsite EAP or health unit, help for substance abuse problems is likely available nearby through a hospital, local health department or stand-alone Substance Abuse Treatment Center. Furthermore, self-help programs, such as the 12-step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, are free and available in communities nationwide. Drug-Free Work Week is a great time to remind employees about community resources that can be helpful for a person struggling with a substance abuse problem or those who are close to him or her.
  • Review your health insurance policy - Coverage for substance abuse treatment makes it more likely that employees struggling with alcohol and drug problems will seek help proactively. Review your health insurance policy to see if substance abuse treatment is covered, and if it is not, consider discussing the prospect of adding coverage with whoever handles your organization's health benefits.
  • Allow employees time to volunteer in community drug prevention efforts - Drug-Free Work Week offers the chance to show commitment to substance abuse prevention both inside and outside the workplace. One way to promote an organization's dedication is to grant employees time off to volunteer to assist with efforts to prevent substance abuse in the larger community or organize a team of volunteers to support a local prevention initiative. Such efforts often are coordinated by schools, faith-based organizations and community anti-drug coalitions.
  • Create a Drug-Free Workplace Display - Drug-Free Work Week is a great time to freshen up bulletin boards in break areas or other locations that employees frequent by posting positive messages about the importance of being drug-free to their safety and that of their coworkers. Start by putting up one of the  Working Partners posters which are available in both English and Spanish. Additional display materials could include a copy of the company's drug-free workplace policy, a list of local and national helplines for employees who may have a problem with alcohol or drugs, and EAP contact information, if applicable.
  • Feature Drug-Free Work Week in the employee newsletter or Intranet - Drug-Free Work Week offers timely and fresh content for an employee newsletter or internal Web site. Articles could be on a range of topics, including general information about substance abuse and its impact in the workplace environment; sources of help for workers with substance abuse problems; and actions workers can take if they think a colleague may have a substance abuse problem. An easy way to do this is to reproduce one or more "drop-in" articles available.
  • Solicit a Drug-Free Work Week Proclamation - Organizations can bolster their Drug-Free Work Week efforts and encourage other organizations to also participate by asking their mayor, governor or other community leader to officially proclaim October 20-26, 2008 as Drug-Free Work Week in their community. A template that organizations can easily customize is available to assist organizations in soliciting such a proclamation.
  • Issue a Drug-Free Work Week Press Release
  • - Organizations can also issue a press release to local media to announce their involvement in Drug-Free Work Week. To assist, a “fill-in-the-blank” template is available that organizations can quickly customize and pitch to their local media.

  • Distribute a payroll message listing helplines or a reminder about Drug-Free Work Week for employees - Paychecks are one thing that every employee pays attention to! Provide additional value during Drug-Free Work Week by including a leaflet or message listing sources of help for those with substance abuse problems or a simple reminder that it is Drug-Free Work Week and a good time to re-commit to working drug-free. An easy way to do this is to print and reproduce a ready-to-use payroll message.
  • Hold a social event celebrating safety and health - A social event with plenty of food, fun and non-alcoholic drinks can help reinforce the importance of being drug free to working safely and remind workers that alcohol is not necessary to unwind and relax. The theme for such an event could be one of general health and wellness, with door prizes such as gift certificates for local health clubs or recreational activities. Working Partners provides a number of tips on how to create alcohol-free workplace parties.

For more ideas on how to recognize Drug-Free Work Week, employers and workers may want to contact various national and state substance abuse prevention organizations or their local community anti-drug coalition.


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