Worksite Policy Challenges

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Across the nation, worksites have been working to improve the health of their workforce through a variety of worksite wellness initiatives.  Part of this work has focused on decreasing the use and misuse of substances, including tobacco, nicotine, prescription or over the counter medications and a variety of other drugs.  Like many other wellness efforts, it may take some time to see a majority of the benefits, but this process frequently begins with increased education and policy revisions.

Education efforts have included trainings for managers, guided discussions with employees and company sponsored events that support the wellness efforts.  These sorts of activities assist in monitoring the work environment, developing a more wellness focused work culture, while increasing employee understanding and buy in.

Traditionally, companies have utilized separate policies to address tobacco use and drug use.  Given some of safety risks associated with some prescription or over the counter medications and the rising issue of medication abuse, companies have started to detail their procedure for employee use of medications.  Additionally, many tobacco use policies are outdated as a variety of alternative tobacco and nicotine products become available.  One such product, e-cigarettes, and other similar devices, are not generally addressed under most existing tobacco use policies.  Obviously this is concerning from a wellness perspective, but the increased variety of substances that can be used in these devices has created increased drug use concerns. Though “drug delivery devices” such as e-cigarettes may or may not have nicotine in them, there is really no way of knowing for sure if forms of marijuana, synthetic drugs or other drugs are being used in these devices during work hours.  Providing drug trainings for managers along with revising tobacco use and drug use policies can assist a company in proactively dealing with any potential problems.

The Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) is currently assisting area companies with policy assistance, sign placement, manager trainings, and employee support.  For more information, please contact ASAC at 390-1884.