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Tackling Drugs in the Workplace

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Every day, 14 million employed alcohol and drug abusers—about 10 percent of adult workers—put the nation’s businesses at serious risk. They cause life-threatening accidents and make costly mistakes. They flummox supervisors and peers, driving down productivity. They take more sick days—and send health costs skyrocketing. In September, federal officials unveiled 2009 survey findings showing that the proportion of illicit drug users older than age 12 increased from 8 percent to 8.7 percent of the U.S. population during one year.

In this three-part cover package, HR Magazine examines the ways employers protect their workforces—and their businesses—from the debilitating impact of substance abuse.

  • In "Putting Drug Screening to the Test," former senior writer Rita Zeidner reviews the ways in which employers commonly administer pre- and post-employment drug testing, and explores the usefulness of such testing.
  • In "What to Do About Substance Abuse," contributing editor Robert J. Grossman looks at prevailing and best practices to identify, confront, discipline and treat substance-abusing employees.
  • In "The Marijuana Exception," freelance writer Diane Cadrain proposes responses to the dilemma HR professionals face in 14 states and the District of Columbia—the jurisdictions that have approved medical use of marijuana.

Employers alone can’t solve the nation’s drug-abuse problem. But armed with an appropriate mix of effective detection strategies, employee assistance programs, disciplinary policies and treatment options, employers can play a vital, meaningful role.

Discuss your experiences regarding employee drug testing, drug treatment and medical marijuana issues with your peers. Share your experiences, expertise and best practices.


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