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Drug Free Program Links:


Program Overview


Why Drug Free?


Drug Free Workplace Programs


Program Components


Drug Testing


Drug Free Workplace Policy


Employee Education


Avoiding ATOD Problems


Employee Assistance Programs


Supervisor Training


Successful Drug Free Workplace Program


Program Evaluation


















Employee Drug Test Education


Educating your employees about alcohol and other drug abuse is important:

  • It gives the program a high priority and says that everyone in the organization needs to be involved"

  • It fosters a spirit of cooperation -- "We’re all in this together."

  • It helps to dispel myths about alcohol and other drug abuse and acknowledges the impact of substance abuse on friends, family members, and coworkers.

  • It encourages employees to buy into the program and reinforces the importance of addressing alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace.

Setting the Tone

Your employee education program will be more effective if it doesn’t sound like a "from the top-down" mandate. How you communicate with employees and the tone you take will be crucial to the success of your program.

A positive approach...

. . . lets employees know the program is intended to improve the work environment for everyone. The message is:

"This is the problem, and here’s how you can solve it."

. . . supports employees:

"If you have a problem, we want to give you a chance to get help."

A negative approach...

. . . takes a more punitive, judgmental attitude. The message is:

"You’d better watch out or you might be in trouble. We have our eye on you."

. . . threatens and scares employees:

"One mistake and you’re out of here."

Setting a positive tone doesn’t mean you have to coddle alcohol or other drug abusers. Some employees may need counseling or drug treatment. Although the majority of your workforce probably do not have alcohol or other drug problems, most employees welcome an organization’s efforts to help employees who do need it.

When and Where

There is no one right way to educate your employees. You may want to start with a modest effort. Over time you may choose to add other elements to the program. Employee education can include the following elements:

  • A meeting with staff members or department heads to explain the organization’s policy and the drug-free workplace program;

  • Informational materials about the company’s program and about alcohol and other drug abuse -- pamphlets, flyers, paycheck stuffers, home mailings, free videos, and so on;

  • Posters and signs reminding employees that yours is a drug-free workplace and that your worksite promotes healthy activities like smoking cessation, regular exercise, and good eating habits.

The most important point is to keep the focus of the program clear and consistent. Several small steps toward employee education throughout the year are better than one large meeting with no follow up.


Even though this section of the kit is about employee education, everyone benefits from education about alcohol and other drug abuse. Owners and top management, supervisors, and employees at all levels need to know about the problems associated with substance abuse and the benefits of a drug-free workplace program. To ensure the success of your drug-free workplace program, ask all upper-level managers to become familiar with the Employee Fact Sheets and the Supervisor’s Guide provided in this kit.

The Minimum

When resources for employee education are limited, at a minimum you need to inform your employees about the company’s drug-free workplace policy. A policy briefing should address the following:

  • The rationale for the policy -- what the law requires, why the program is important to your organization, and the cost of alcohol and other drug problems in the workplace

  • Details of the policy, including the consequences for violating it

  • Available help for employee problems, such as an employee assistance program (EAP), if applicable, or referral to other local resources.

Providing your employees with some basic information about alcohol and other drug abuse also reinforces your policy and communicates that you care about their welfare. Extending the education to their family members can promote that concept, and can improve the chance that a troubled employee will be identified by a spouse or child. Providing basic information can be done through brief meetings, brochures and other written materials, videos, home mailings, and so on. The content might include the following:

  • Hazards of alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace (increased accidents, decreased productivity, etc.)

  • How to recognize a potential alcohol or other drug problem of coworkers, family members, or friends (what to do and what not to do)

  • The nature of alcohol or other drug abuse and some ways addiction can be treated

  • Available resources within the organization or in the community.

A variety of informational items are provided in this kit. See the Supervisors’ Guide and the Employee Fact Sheets for more information about alcohol and other drug abuse, addiction, and recovery, and for telephone numbers of helpful resources. National, State, and local resource organizations also offer free informational materials.

Employee Education Planning Checklist

___ Obtain and review materials. (See the Employee Fact Sheets and Supervisor’s Guide for resources.) Also, some publishing companies sell pamphlets to businesses. See the Employee Fact Sheets for a list of publishing companies and telephone numbers.

___ Tell the person who will be distributing the materials to fill in the local resource phone numbers in the spaces provided on the last page of each Employee Fact Sheet and on the posters.

___ Plan for informational sessions or distribution of materials over the long term (rather than a one-shot presentation).

___ Involve key staff in planning and follow up.

___ Schedule follow up meetings and/or distribute materials on a regular basis.

___ Provide referral and resource lists.

Courtesy of The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information and
the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


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