Saturday, July 30, 2016

Help Supervisors Understand the Addiction Progression Curve in DOT Drug and Alcohol Training Classes

You will find a drug and alcohol training, addictive disease progression curve here.
reasonable suspicion training checklist handout for PowerPoint
Follow the link below the form above to the handout and you can download the tip sheet for reasonable suspicion training at (look for tip sheet. The point is to have each supervisor with a copy while you discuss the progress and symptoms in the workplace. You will get some real discussion going, and the upside (the sneaky side) is that employees with an alcohol or drug addiction problem will be to self-diagnose. It's impossible not to personally self-diagnose one's own alcohol and drug program when reviewing these signs and symptoms in the DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training Class (see powerpoint)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion Training Myths for Supervisors: The Myth of the "Contact High"

"Man, I didn't smoke anything! It must have been a "contact high" because I was nearby!!" - You will hear this excuse someday after sitting through your DOT Supervisor Training class on Alcohol and Drug Education. You will feel confused and say, "wow, now what?" Here's what you need to know: In drug testing results, there is no such thing as a contact high. The reason is quite simple. It has to do with "Cutoff Level" also known as "Cutoff Concentration."  These terms refer the amount of a substance detectable in the urine or the bloodstream sample. Certain levels of concentration are decide upon, and if that threshold is not reached, the test is negative. The amount or the level of a substance in the body fluid that will trigger a positive test is measured in nanograms (That is one billionth of a gram!) per milliliter of urine. If an employee gives a sample and the concentration of the drug's metabiolite is greater than the decide up on level that indicates the person used, then a positive test is signaled. Anything lower is considered negative. "Contact highs" aren't measurable or at least will not reach the threshold! So an employee who tells you they were i in the wrong place at the wrong time is simply, well, "blowin' smoke" for lack of a better way to say it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Classic Alcoholic Interventions with Employees --- FORGET-ABOUT-IT!

Reasonable suspicion training in the workplace does not include information on doing interventions. And it should not. However, the idea may cross your mind someday, and you need to forget about doing them. You have probably seen interventions on television. There was a television show once (or maybe it is still on) that showed how these were typically done. They involve confronting an alcoholic or drug addict with a group of family members in a surprise meeting designed to create a manufactured crisis of emotional proportions that motivates the addict to enter addiction treatment without delay. Don't do these interventions (the classical form of them) in the workplace. Not only will they not work, but you could get royally sued. Interventions do, absolutely work. They are marvelous tools, but they require two things. The right leverage and the right influence for the context in which they occur; and 2) a bit of instruction in the approach and delivery. I will add a third critical addition--never use a professional counselor or addiction expert in an intervention in the workplace as a buffer, reference expert, or just to have on hand in case the employee goes postal. Doing this violates a principle in the helping professions called "client self-determination" and it can elicit a lawsuit. Instead only use (in the workplace) those individuals with senior management positions and the authority to fire the employee. Only focus on the job issues and roll out the red carpet and the source of help for a professional assessment. IF the employee would like to go, great! If not, say, "Pick up your check!" This is the one-minute intervention. If the employee does not want to go to the assessment, terminate for cause. If you are not ready to terminate your employee, then don't do the intervention. Just let the problem get worse. You will be back in the future to terminate -- guaranteed. Secret Trick: If the employee makes the wrong choice, give him or her 24 hours to think it over. He or she will change the mind 90% of the time. Base your intervention only on performance, attendance, conduct, availability, and attitude on the job. The goal of the referral is assessment and referral to professional help IF THE EMPLOYEE WOULD LIKE TO GO--not you. You don't care! That is your position. DO NOT DEVIATE FROM IT.

Monday, July 18, 2016

DOT Supervisors Who Socialize and Drink with Employees

You may not want to hear this, but if you drink with your employees, go fishing, socialize, whoop it up and attempt to be one of the boys, you are at risk for reasonable suspicion training not doing you much good. No, I don't mean you aren't going to get anything out of the training. On the contrary, you are going to get a lot of education, but you are going to discover that you are greatly conflicted. That's because your loyalty to the employee, your own enjoyment of their company, the bonding you develop, the rationale you maintain for being their friend, the empathy you employ to understand all their problems is going to prevent you from "breaking bad" and confronting them with the mandate of taking a drug test if you smell alcohol on their breath at work and have enough observable and document-able information to require a reasonable suspicion test. You'll feel upset when this happens, and you will most likely wait, "give things more time," blow off the first occurrence, or keep any eye on things while promising yourself you are not enabling. No, instead your a "mindful" supervisor. Enabling with awareness of course is still enabling. Well, this entire conflict is called having a dual relationship. It is also referred to as a "conflict of interests." Your boss is the organization. Your paycheck originates there. And that is where your loyalty must be. Now, what are you going to do? You need to sit down with your employee and have a chat, and it is okay to make a presentation to your group that although you are friends, you will need to act on the company's alcohol and drug policy because if you do not, you put yourself and the organization risk. I will be the first to admit that this is a tough spot for any supervisor, but there are steps you can take now. And if you are a new supervisor in a DOT supervisory role, make this commitment now not to socialize with workers, especially around booze. This is grown up stuff. You will need to get socializing  needs met another way. It is comes with the territory.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Salvia: A Crazy Ass Drug You Should Know about Reasonable Suspicion Training

Most DOT Supervisor Training on Drug and Alcohol education for reasonable suspicion does not mention anything about a drug called Salvia. Salvia is a herb that is almost always smoked. It produces radical and frightening distortions of reality that include mania and visual and auditory hallucinations. When used, the effects occur within 30-60 seconds. User may begin laughing, stumbling, fall down, staring, swiping at the air with their arms, and come down off the high within an hour. There are bad trips with this drug. It is an unpredictable substance of abuse, and don't believe a damn thing anyone tells you about this drug being harmless. If you are a supervisor on the job and have an employee who uses Salvia, your employee will not hold back. They will appear totally spaced out and tell you what they area seeing in the way of bright lights and color, having no control over body muscles. You may see your employee on the ground swirling around, acting depressed, bewildered, shocked, and behaving in extremely odd ways. You will know they are on drugs instantly. Salvia is bought online. It is not illegal, but any employee using it can kiss productivity good bye. To see a YouTube Video of a bad Salvia experience, see below: Imagine this employee operating your fork lift. Yes, drug testing and employee assistance programing save lives.