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Preventing Employee Relapse & Substance Misuse in the Workplace

When training staff and in day-to-day managerial settings, it is important to adopt a preventive mindset that acknowledges that substance misuse is an ever-present concern and that the organization actively supports employee wellness.

Below are some concepts that, when infused into supervisory settings, can promote recovery support as an organizational value:

  • Prevention discussions are for every employee, not just those in recovery.

  • The organization has a corporate commitment to wellness that is reflected in a resolution by its executives and/or board of directors.

  • Prevention messages can be given by many different people, including first-line supervisors, upper management, and EAP and Recovery Employment Coach providers.

  • Company work is difficult and stressful. Working with any client population can result in vulnerability among staff members.

  • There are free and confidential recovery support resources in the community available to all staff members and their families.

  • Employees should think about their own support systems: Who can they call on if problems occurred in their life? Who can they rely on for support?

  • Ethics and codes of professional and personal conduct prohibit any substance use that impairs an employee’s ability to do his or her job or that negatively affects the reputation or mission of the agency.

  • The organization encourages employees to take responsibility and self-disclose substance use problems early before performance and behavior issues occur.

  • Options such as medical leave may be applied in situations of misuse or relapse. In some circumstances, Federal rules, such as the Family Medical Leave Act, ensure job security.

  • The organization’s first and foremost responsibility is to its clients. Action should be taken to address substance misuse before any behavior rises to the level of misconduct that may jeopardize client health or safety.

  • The organization believes at its core that people can change behavior and recover.

  • Think in terms of a desire to retain quality workers by supporting their recovery process and helping them to return to balance.

In a nutshell, the key to preventing relapse and substance misuse in the workplace is in adopting a preventative mindset. For support on developing supportive recovery-friendly workplace programming, click here.

1 Comment

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