I doubt that the subject of drug and alcohol abuse is any dearer to your heart than mine, and that’s part of the problem. We don’t like to think about it. So why, if it the subject is not high on our list of favorites, talk about it here? How about:
• Workers’ Compensation: 38% to 50% of all Workers’ Compensation claims are related to substance abuse in the workplace. Substance abusers file three to five times as many claims.
• Medical Costs: Substance abusers incur 300% higher medical costs than non-abusers.
• Absenteeism: Substance abusers are 2.5 times more likely to be absent eight or more days a year.
• Lost Productivity: Substance abusers are one-third less productive.
Certainly a part of our reluctance is the worry that once we pry open the lid, we won’t like what’s there. Another is that you’re saying to your people that you don’t trust them to do the right thing for themselves. And then there’s the money thing. A drug and alcohol testing program is not cheap, it requires time, effort, attention to detail, and follow-through; and, when all is said and done, it’s difficult to equate the value of the program to your P&L statement’s bottom line…after all, success is a matter of what isn’t there. For a program to be effective it should include at the very least the following:
• Specimen collection
• Drug testing
• Confirmation on positive testing
• Employee Assistance Program
So I’d like to ask you for your thoughts on the subject: For starters do you see this as an important subject for the magazine to tackle? And if the answer is “Yes,” do you think a roundtable discussion with waste managers might be a good approach? And if the answer is another “Yes,” would you be willing to participate? If so, or if you have a better idea on how to proceed, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.