Friday, April 21, 2017

Drugs of Abuse Chart for DOT Supervisor Training

I hope most drug and alcohol training programs provide a drugs of abuse chart for supervisors to look and discuss in their DOT compliance training classes. The drugs of abuse chart typically shows the five classifications of drugs and alcohol that the DOT requires to be examined by supervisors to help them learn about the nature of these substances, their effects on work performance, and the behavior of employees, signs and symptoms of their use, and the risks the substances pose in the work environment.

This chart should be editable and it should change over time with the discovery of new drugs of abuse that could find their way into the workplace. Employees these days have many sneaky ways of bring drugs into workplace, here is an example of a crack pipe we show in our DOT Supervisor Training PowerPoint and other training formatted courses.

DOT Supervisor Training PowerPoint for Reasonble Suspicion

Pretty crazy, huh? And this crack pipe is only a small example of the types of devices that are produced to thwart detection by management and provide reasonable suspicion training.

There are many other examples of how drug use is snuck into companies. I also have an image of a Chapstick that is really also a crack pipe. When all these clever tricks exist, there is only one thing supervisors can do about it -- monitor performance effectively. The drugs of abuse chart can help, but don't be fooled, good old fashioned observation of behaviors on the job is the way to go.

So, sure, knowing all these devices of trickery is a good thing for awareness, but none of it substitutes for a really solid drugs of abuse chart where supervisors can learn about the behavior of employees and how to be healthy.

Supervisor should be educated about other drugs of abuse like Salvia and K2. When supervisor training refresher is done, ask them to update their own charts with the drug and alcohol training they receive. And, as I mentioned before, do not omit employee education about substance abuse. Employees are your eyes and ears. They will let you know by one means or another, what is going on in the organization. But you are going to need to engage with them until they trust you. At that point, they will stop dropping hints about the work culture and what risks exist within it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training Video: Why Employees at Work Drunk May Appear Complete 100% Sober


Educating supervisors about substance abuse is best accomplished when you also help them grasp the idea of something called drug tolerance. Drug tolerance has a simple meaning – your body requires more of the substance in order to achieve the same psychoactive effect desired – the high or the buzz. This is a nervous system reaction, and it occurs with all addicts. Alcoholism, cocaine addiction, opiates, they all build tolerance. In fact, build up of tolerance is part of the diagnosis of addiction and substance use disorders.

This is a problem for alcoholics and drug addicts for several reasons:

Being at work drunk and unnoticed. Tolerance to a drug is the body’s way--and particularly your nervous system’s way--of getting use to the presence of a substance. In the beginning there is a pleasant high or buzz the addict may perceive as the chemical reacts fully to your nervous system following consuming the substance. The nervous system chemicals that create a sense of pleasure begin failing at re-capturing their chemical messengers and aren't as efficient. And your feeling of getting "high" suffers. One's response to the drug is therefore diminished.

An overdose however can still kill. Drink alcohol on top of drug use or the other way around, and death can happen. Tolerance to a drug is not a reversible phenomenon, and it is considered linked and part of the disease process. Can you see why understanding this content is important in DOT reasonable suspicion training to help supervisors gain appreciation for just signs and symptoms, but disease of addiction that more often affects employees under the influence?

 Withdrawal Symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms affect employees’ ability to perform. An employee may actually be more capable of performing under the influence with a high blood alcohol content than if they were completely sober at 0.00 BAC, but in withdrawal and needing a drink in order to prevent going into seizures, shaking uncontrollably, or even DTs. (Delirium Tremens) All psycho-motor skills of the employee drug or alcohol user can be affected. So, a solid checklist of these signs and symptoms is important to give employees in a DOT compliance training class or presentation, especially a PowerPoint reasonable suspicion training class.
Adverse Effects on Memory. You can have an employee sitting in front of you when confronting him or her about their drinking on the job, and have a reasonably coherent conversation. The next day, they may not remember it at all because of an alcoholic black out. Many supervisors in the DOT compliance training class will have stories of drunk employees they will share.

Increased Risk by Employees. Employees will be at risk for more accidents when they are using substances on the job. And believe it or not, as I alluded to, an increased number of accidents can happen to employees who are in withdrawal on the job, but with zero BAC levels.

Skills in Being a B.S. Artist. Alcoholic employees must be come BS artists to keep you guessing, and see them as cooperative, jolly, personal favorites of yours. This attitude toward alcoholic employees will keep their performance curve higher in your mind that it actually is in a quantifiable form. This is part of the enabling pattern. Employees who talk a good game but have absenteeism issues and poor work quality are not satisfactory workers simply because they appear to highly positive personalities. Don’t let supervisors be lured into this dynamic, and address this problem in reasonable suspicion training

Attendance and Availability Impact. Employees with drug and alcohol problems will eventually have attendance problems—not showing up for work. They may look good at work, but they are alcoholic and behaviors will eventually catch up to them. And you never know when it will happen. Fridays, Mondays, and the day after payday are the most common absence days for addicts.

The other attendance related problems is availability – disappearing on the job. This can happen at lunch time or a couple 
hours after employees come to work when the BAL drops and they need a drink to fix it.. Drug and alcohol policies at hospitals typically do not cover medical doctors. Did you know that? Medical doctors average 2x the alcoholism rate of other persons. Now you know why. The protest the policy and get it changed. What medical doctor on staff at a hospital will ever subject themselves to a random drug screen? None.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Reasonable Suspicion Training in One Awesome Handout - for PowerPoint, DVD, Web Course, or Video Presentations

Sometimes a very good tip sheet for reasonable suspicion training comes along. And this is one I created from three different tip sheets for DOT supervisors taking drug and alcohol compliance classes. In one glance it shows supervisors the progression of addiction, signs, symptoms, dispels myths, and helps the reader of the tip sheet self-diagnose their own alcoholism (sorry for the anxiety) but not saving your life if you happen to be in some progressive stage of the illness. You can thank me later. See if you can print if from below, but you can also purchase this tip sheet or get it free with our training programs on Reasonable suspicion. #reasonable suspicion training #dot drug and alcohol training


Friday, March 10, 2017

Discussing Stigma, Myths, and Misconceptions in DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training

DOT reasonable suspicion training -- discuss and examine myths and misconceptions about alcoholism and drug addictions, and the consequences of these roadblocks to effectively managing a drug free workplace. Read more . ..

Sunday, February 5, 2017

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Reasonable Suspicion Training: Instructing Supervisors in Assembling Documentation that Works

A checklist for reasonable suspicion is need to train supervisors in confronting an employee for reasonable suspicion training. Be sure to add this element in your drug and alcohol awareness class in how to document incidents properly that can support a request for a drug test is absolutely crucial because organizational or legal challenges, if they arise, will require that the supervisor demonstrated a credible basis for requesting a test.
This makes teaching documentation skills to supervisors, and not just learning about drug and alcohol symptoms, as an important skill. Of course, the DOT does not require you to teach documentation, as illogical as it seems. It makes you wonder why not. One could say this is especially crucial if you are concerned about protecting employee rights.
Nevertheless, did you know that there is a 60% chance that a lawsuit will be won in court by the employee, no matter what the case might be, and that an jury-determined settlement is typically 500% greater than an out of court settlement when it comes to employment claims litigation? Read more . . .

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Opioid Withdrawal May Cause More Evidence of Drug Use Than Symptoms of Intoxication

Reasonable suspicion training isn't black and white. There are a lot of shades of gray. You should include information about the behavioral patterns of opioid abusers so supervisors are not kept in the dark.

There is a theory being put out there that the rise in social media is fueling the opioid epidemic and the use of prescription drugs, which most of the time means opioid like substances that are synthetically produced. The timing of the drug epidemic is coinciding with rise in social media use. I think this is a red herring.

One theory is that those with a propensity to use psychoactive substances seek information online that will help them maximize the opportunity and knowledge they seek to discover the next big high. And information about narcotics is plentiful online. What comes next is discovering many ways to procure these substances of abuse.

Link to Heroin Prevention Education Program

If you google, “buy oxycodone”, you will reach over 500,000 web sites. At least 50 of them will discuss getting a hold of this drug by buying it online, and overnight service is not uncommon. These are the problems employers are facing in their attempts to spot drug users via reasonable suspicion training instruction, webinars, and organized training sessions for the DOT mandate. It appears that the Internet, and not just social media is heavily responsible for making access to these drugs easier. I would argue more so.

When training supervisors in signs and symptoms of opioid use, discuss the following information: Someone with a opioid drug use addiction will have a strong desire to use opioids. There are many addictions that contribute to the same behavioral syndrome, but absenteeism from work, and not giving a flying F--- about it is classic.

Drugs simply take away or remove the sense of urgency every typically possesses to get up and get going, and get to work on time. Drug abuse or other addictions will undermine this sense of “urgency deterioration. This absenteeism pattern also stems from the problem of inability to control or reduce use. The task is simply too overwhelming physically for the typical person to detox themselves. You may also discover sudden absenteeism after a person gets a paycheck on the 15th of the month, or even that same day knowing they have the money in hand. Most supervisors ignore what they don't see. And with Reasonable suspicion training, what you don't see is the employee at work. So, instruct supervisors in how to develop a preponderance of evidence that employee is using substances of abuse when you do training.

The inability to maintain commitments, promises, relationship dates, homework assignments, project deadlines are all interrupted or made more challenging by drug addiction for the same reasons as discussed above. Supervisors are also like to see or hear about more legal problems with employees who have substance abuse issues.

These legal problems will be associated more often with domestic issues, driving under the influence, or bizarre behavior linked to the drug’s use. Money owed to other users or friends may create significant crisis. Financial problems are especially problematic for drug users, again because of the issues mentioned above. Supervisors will begin hearing about depression, seeing a doctor, rumors about seeing a psychiatrist (last place addicts should go, if they are attending sessions to gain insight on why they use drugs. It’s a fruitless pursuit.

Stomach problems and insomnia are also problems for narcotic (opioid users) because all opioid users will experiment with their own self-detox, and withdrawal symptoms can be quite agitating. This agitation can lead to absenteeism, and these employees will say they have the flu. Indeed, they may not be using drugs at all in that moment. It’s the withdrawal symptoms that are keeping them away from work. Be sure to discuss withdrawal symptoms, not just the symptoms of intoxication with reasonable suspicion training.
#opioidaddiction #heroinaddiction #prescriptiondrugabuse

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Guide to Intervening with an Alcoholic Employee in the Workplace Experiencing Documentable Job Performance Problems

After reasonable suspicion training, supervisors refer to a testing facility when an employee is identified via signs and symptoms or some other requisite criteria, but there is more to the story if treatment is recommended or there is no larger system of employee assistance programming, no testing protocols, and no referral mechanism to help salvage the worker. Help must still be available to the small business owner--and 80% of USA employers are micro, mini, or family owned businesses. This is the intervention approach I formulated at the Arlington Hospital with the ASSIST for Business program we established there, and used in reaching small businesses from law offices to apartment complexes, gas stations, and local banks. And it worked ethically, effectively, and consistent the chronic disease model, the EAP core technology, and principles of influence and leverage associated with job security as a lever for motivating the alcoholic (usually although we had some PCD and Cocaine referrals) and follow through with treatment, aftercare, follow-up, and recommend treatment programming. Key always is follow up and use of a follow up tool to catch diminishing involvement in a recovery program prior to relapse.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Reasonable Suspicion Training, Attendance Patterns, and Intervention

Alcohol and drug using employees who have substance abuse dependencies may in the later stages of their illness demonstrate erratic attendance patterns that lead to their termination. One common pattern that you should discuss in reasonable suspicion training is the problematic performance issues of being absent on Monday, absent on Friday, and absent the day after payday. Alcoholics or drug addicted employees aren’t the only ones who experience this attendance pattern, of course.

Depression affecting employees, for example, can easily contribute to an absenteeism pattern. In fact, oddly, once had an EAP client with attendance pattern caused by her inability to continue on any drive to work because of fear that she had accidentally run over someone when she turned the last corner while driving her car. This necessitated her turning the car around and driving back in the opposite direction to ensure no one was lying in the street injured or dead! This would happen a dozen times on her commute to work.

Despite other personal problems of employees that contribute to absenteeism, the classic pattern above is probably most common among addicts and frequently observed by managers and workforce management professionals with any significant time on the job. Typically when this symptom pattern is discussed in reasonable suspicion training, you will receive a odd chuckle from the crowd because they all know what you are talking about. (Continue to Read More on Reasonable Suspicion Training and Intervention and get the free e-book download PDF on Performance-based Intervention)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reasonable Suspicion Training for Supervisors Educating Them About Codependency

Some supervisors struggle with codependency issues and this contributes to their inability to participate fully in enforcing a drug free workplace policy. Educate them so they understand this dynamic and you will be more successful in motivating them to identify drug and alcohol using employees on the job who should be referred for a reasonable suspicion testing. Any supervisor who is overly concerned about the well-being of an employee under their position or, indeed, starts controlling the life of the employee to help prevent his or her demise from substance abuse, is strongly hooked as an enabler and codependent person. This urgency to meet the needs of another person, while denying your own needs, may earn praise from others around you. But if you are unhappy with your relationships and struggle to find more balance, you may be struggling with codependency. So what is codependency? Codependency is a term used to describe problematic ways of thinking and behaving that contribute to adult relationship problems. Generally, these maladaptive behaviors are learned in one’s family of origin. They reflect the spoken and unspoken rules, along with ways of coping that family members learned in the face of persistent physical or emotional issues. Codependency is a common problem, and much attention has been dedicated to understanding it and helping people overcome it.

The word "codependency" evolved from the word "co-alcoholic," a term commonly used to describe a person in a close relationship with an alcoholic (or drug addict). Co-alcoholics naturally attempt to cope with the alcoholic's dysfunctional behavior by enabling — controlling, protecting, and compensating for the alcoholic's problems. Many people in adult relationships with alcoholics grew up in an alcoholic home, and as a result, exhibit learned codependent behaviors in their relationships. You can see from the information about that any education program in reasonable suspicion training is going to help make an impact on this critical dynamic that thwarts referrals to addiction treatment programs and assessments my Employee Assistance Programs. Growing up in an alcoholic home is one way to be affected by codependency, but other health conditions and psychological problems may contribute to the development of codependency. The personalities of family members and the types of problems they experience shape the codependent behaviors.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Alcohol Awareness in Reasonable Suspicion Training is More than Spotting the Wobbly Employee

Alcohol awareness training is an important part of DOT reasonable suspicion training, but not for the reasons you might at first imagine. When discussing alcohol awareness, you might think that this topic will focus mostly on signs of intoxication, the way a drunk wobbles, speech, and smell. You will discover few intoxicated individuals this way, and that was proven, well, way back in 1960 when we taught supervisors to do all these things and nothing happened. We then shifted to performance, quality of work, attendance, conduct, workplace troubles, and evaluated these individuals for alcoholism. The reults? Boom! The EAP field was born.

But, I digress. Although these things are important, even more important are intensive education for supervisors which breaks their grip on the myths and misconceptions they naturally possess about alcohol, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, treatment, recovery, and manipulation.

Failing to address these issues will leave your supervisor audience about where they were when they first arrived--resistant to believing in the disease model of addiction and the important ramifications this will have on the future as they engage employees. Supervisors who have not been trained and educated in these myths and misconceptions are extremely vulnerable to manipulation.
To keep your alcohol awareness education meaningful, consider the 7-8 handouts on drug and alcohol awareness that you will discover on the - specifically at These handouts are editable and reproducible, and you buy them on the Web site.

Before purchase drug and alcohol training program for the DOT, be sure this awareness training is in the package. At, you will discover you can preview a product free--free postage and free return -- get a good look at the product. Make sure it provides employees with information necessary to increase awareness about alcohol and other drugs of abuse. The alcohol awareness training should focus on employee well-being and workplace productivity and should include information about the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction (addictive disease); common myths and misconceptions; tolerance and cross tolerance, denial; enabling and armchair diagnosing.

Yeah, we got that.

The alcohol awareness training should raise awareness about the misinformation most people possess about alcoholism and drug addiction garnered from popular culture, the media, and family history.

One of society's greatest misconceptions is that someone has to "want help" before they can be helped. The truth is most employees are motivated or pressured by tools of influence or leverage such as a job, money, prison or divorce. They enter treatment and then they become motivated to want what the healtiest patient has found--peace of mind with sobriety