Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016's Blog Hits Nine Vital Tip Sheet Topics Worth Dropping on Supervisors

DOT Drug and Alcohol Training workplace wellness tip sheets that blow supervisors away. Consider these found at the blog -

I would like to add that the DOT Drug and Alcohol Training package that any Web site sells should make questions in their test educational. In other words, not just true or false, but expanded upon in the answer once it is selected.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Reasoanable Suspicion Training: Free Training Advice Worth Heeding

Here is free advice worth heeding. Go beyond the DOT requirement for drug educaiton and discuss enabling. You will be surprised, how, when it occurs, and what industries are most effected by alcohol and drug problems. Enabling in the workplace is a serious problem. With reasonable suspicion training, you must make DOT supervisors aware of how enabling takes place so they do not fall prey to its many routes of manifestation. Enabling happens in the following ways and will be seen in the following types of industries where high value is placed on social activity with frequent use of alcohol, alcohol use at lunch, etc. (i.e.,lawyers are more likely to drink at lunch  than school teachers. High male demographic work groups with strong social ties consume more alcohol.)  You will therefore see more alcohol in these professions. It has nothing to do with the profession, but the exposure to beverage ethanol consumption. Official rest breaks that allow for alcohol use are found in beer breweries. They therefore have more alcoholism. Industries characterized by frequent opportunity to use alcohol (or drugs.) For example, organizations with higher rates of business travel, sales travel, evening work shifts with after-hours socializing with alcohol; isolated employees without direct  supervision (i.e., non-office-like environments); exposure to served alcoholic beverages (airlines, hotel, restaurants); accessibility to addictive drugs - pharmaceutical, medical, and nursing occupations. Self-employed persons. (Frequent opportunity to tax susceptibility exists when self-employed, and many alcoholics will become self-employed as a result of alcoholic drinking at work.) Finally, if an alcohol/drug policy lacks effectiveness or fear exists that a zero tolerance policy will not permit treatment, then risk to the organization will increase and enabling will ensue.

Preview our DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training Course to Meet the Two Hour Supervisor Training Mandate

Friday, November 25, 2016

New Supervisor Training: PowerPoint or DVD, Web Course or Video

New supervisor training includes about 12-15 key topics. If you hit these topics, you will educate supervisor to have about 95% of everything to know. We finished our research, and so we are recommending this program. You can find this new supervisor training program at the video or you can just go to

Preview our DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training Course to Meet the Two Hour Supervisor Training Mandate

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Preview our DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training Course to Meet the Two Hour Supervisor Training Mandate
You can get a DOT Supervisor Training Certificate for Drug and Alcohol Awareness Training to meet the compliance training mandate completing this training at - the cost is $53 DOT SUPERVISOR TRAINING . Here are three reasons to consider this training right now. 1) It's the least expensive but most comprehensive program on the market; 2) You can do it right now. 3) It was created by experts with 30 years experience, and 4) we are the same training company that provides training to the U.S. Department of Transportation's own employees. You are welcome to ask us for references at the DOT! Also, one more important point: We spend time in this training program educating employees about alcoholism because it is the one drug-related problem that is chocked full of incredible myths and misconceptions. This misinformation destroys the ability for people to self-diagnose, accept the legitimacy of the illness, and help them see the need to do something about their alcohol drinking or that of the family members.

Alcoholism awareness information in the DOT Supervisor Training Program we have created purposely addresses the origin of alcoholism myths, understanding the disease, quick questions that allow anyone to diagnose themselves or loved ones, and more. You can a little bit of the program below we have inserted below:


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hallucinogenic Drugs in the Workplace; Forget It, You Will Never See Any

True. But you will see their toll.

HALLUCINOGENS ANALOGS HALLUCINOGEN-TYPE DRUGS AND "CLUB DRUGS" WITH SEDATIVE EFFECTS include: LSD, Mescaline and Peyote, Meth-Amphetamine and variants, GHB, Ketamine, Phencyclidine (PCP) and analogs; Psilocybin, etc. Street names include: LSD: Acid, Microdot, Window Panes, blotter acid, Peyote: buttons, Cactus, mescal, PCP: Love Boat, Shermans, Angel Dust, Woodies Methamphetamine: Crystal, Ecstasy, ICE, MDA, MDMA, DMA, GHB:  Grievous Bodily Harm,Mushrooms: Shrooms; Administered by Orally; Some may be injected like crystal methamphetamine; Other hallucinogens may be smoked or made into a tea (peyote, mescaline, etc.) Effects of these drugs of abuse include slurred speech, blurred vision, confusion, distortion of time and space, sensory distortions, illusions, hallucinations, paranoia, dilated pupils, mood swings, possible aggression, agitation. Hazards of use include anxiety, depression, impaired memory, flashbacks at any time, emotional and psychotic reactions, death from overdose, organic brain damage from PCP use. To obtain a handout for drug of abuse in the workplace, go to the tip sheet section of

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

DOT Supervisors: Don't Kill Your Alcoholic Employees with Kindness

Here is a checklist: Have you ever called someone a "functional alcoholic?" Is so, it's time to back off of this label, but it is going to kill your employee someday. Do you have a social relationship with this person where drinking plays an important role? Have you heard “stories” about the functional alcoholic’s home life that are problematic or disturbing to you, and do you redpond to them with your advice? Does the thought of not socializing with the functional alcoholic seem unacceptable and disconcerting because you do not want to give up a great friend? Have you dismissed or minimized alcohol-related problems that have occurred in the functional               alcoholic’s life, even while thinking to yourself that this person needs help? Would your decision to stop drinking with the functional alcoholic cause him or her to question your loyalty or ability to have a good time? If others agreed to participate in an intervention to motivate the functional alcoholic to enter treatment, would you feel inclined to argue against it, motivated by how your life might change? Do you believe the functional alcoholic would become boring if he or she decided to stop drinking for good? As you educate yourself about Reasonable Suspicion .If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you are an enabler. Don't worry, because here is the easy "shift" in thinking about drug abuse and alcoholism that you need to accept: Alcoholics are not responsible for acquiring their illness. Instead, they are responsible for treatment when any evidence of addiction begins to itself as symptoms. All drug free workplace programs and all EAPs knowf the great value of

Monday, August 22, 2016

What to Do about Coworker Cover Up and Enabling

Coworkers become enablers like anyone else in the immediate circle of the active addict's life. These employee are no different than supervisors, the employee with a drug or alcohol problem him or herself, family members, or supervisors. Everyone enables until a point in time comes that they are not enabling. This reality is 100% universal fact among alcoholic and drug addicts. If you live with an addict and think you are not enabling, you are probably fooling yourself, but it is more likely that you don't understand enabling completely. Enabling can be very subtle and it can mean doing something, not doing something, saying something, or not saying something that helps the addict not recognize or accept the consequences of his or her behavior, no matter how small, linked to the use of alcohol or other drugs of abuse. To impact the workforce and reduce the risk of substance abuse on the job, or the effects of substance abuse on the job, it is critical to educate employees about Workplace Substance Abuse so they are educated to dispel myths and false hoods about addiction. This is why we created the Alcohol and Other Drugs at Work: What Employees Should Know product.

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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hey, Where Are All the Wierd Drugs in the Workplace--Like Bromo Dragon Fly or Devil's Breath?

When you are instructed in reasonable suspicion training, do not get caught up in all the information and hype about what are the worst drugs in the workplace. Drugs like Salvia, Bath Salts, Spice/K2, Ketamine, Devil's Breath, Benzo Fury, Dipt, Bromo Dragon Fly, etc. etc. You can visit YouTube to learn about these substances, but you are never, ever going to see them in the workplace. You will however see absenteeism. That you can document. And that you can refer for! Drug abuse signs and symptoms? Forget it, you ain't going to see them. But if your organization has a decent EAP not run by a managed care company (which by the way totally screwed up the EAP field and decimated it by 50% of the programs in 20 years, and I maintain that mass shootings are a direct result with the shooters not referred for help but were known troubled employees in companies that had no EAP or a terrible one-- i.e., the Orlando Shooter should have been referred to an EAP by the employer for outrageous behavior) then you will get these weird drug users into treatment. DOT Supervisors used to be told to avoid looking for drug abuse signs and symptoms, and tons of addicts were referred to treatment because of performance issues. Stick to this model and enjoy the drug and alcohol training in the signs and symptoms education. It's entertaining, but that is about it.  The the field went bonkers, and we started telling supervisors to look for signs and symptoms. It hasn't worked, as predicted but the real pros in this field. But since we are here, and now teaching signs and symptoms, remember this: Do not be fooled into thinking that if you do not see signs and symptoms of drug abuse in the workplace that they are not there.

Friday, June 24, 2016

DOT Supervisors Should Understand Early Stages of Alcoholism

Don't get me wrong. This is has nothing to do with you diagnosing employees. It has to do with dispelling myths and misconceptions that keep you as a DOT Supervisor following reasonable suspicion training, from ignoring  your responsibilities for intervening on the job with an employee who demonstrates a problem. So, start with yourself. It's always best and understand the following If you drink, know the early signs of alcoholism. You may spot symptoms that allow you to be better prepared to self-diagnose the illness if it becomes necessary. Once social drinking begins, neurological and behavioral signs and symptoms begin to emerge in susceptible persons. These may include tolerance, often misperceived as a positive ability to drink more “efficiently” or in greater amounts than peers without feeling alcohol’s effects. You may notice fewer adverse consequences the next morning after heavy drinking and increasingly look forward to the next opportunity to drink. You may seek out peers who drink with the same capacity as yourself. Memory loss while drinking (blackouts) may occur. You may see alcohol as a positive way to feel stimulated, and may experience boredom if unable to drink in the evening. Alcoholism is not an equal-opportunity illness. Research shows that a family history of addictive disease places one at higher risk for it. There is a myth that self-referral never happens, and that some horrible incident must force an alcoholic into treatment. Not true. A screening with a professional counselor takes only minutes, and your score and concern over the above symptoms may lead you to accept help early to avoid such an incident.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Employee Blackouts on the Job: Oh Yeah, They Happen

They are called Aviation Medical Examiners. And they work for the federal government. More precisely, they are internists and addiction medicine physicians who are frequently members of the American Medical Society on Addiction Medicine, and their job is to follow alcoholic airline pilots. I know, you never thought about how many alcoholic airline pilots there might be right, right? There are thousands of them. And they still fly plane's loads of passengers. In 1984, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was following over 1500 such alcoholic (abstinent, sober alcoholics) pilots. There are alcoholic pilots caught drinking while flying or under other illegal circumstances. Guess what. They must all attend Alcoholics Anonymous after treatment because it works. They have no choice if they want to keep their jobs. And they must be sober two years before they can fly again. Can you think of a better reason to go? All of this is to say, that if recovery from alcoholism did not work, there would be no recovering alcoholic airline pilots still flying. Do they relapse? Yes. The success rate however approaches 90%. I know all of this of course because I interview the had Aviation Medical Examiner. Did you know that there have been recorded incidents of alcoholic airline pilots flying in blackouts? Yep, they did not remember flying from point A to point B. Blackouts (a hallmark sign of possible alcoholism) demonstrates the nervous system’s adaptation and tolerance to alcohol. A blackout is a short-term amnesia state characterized the inability to recall what happened during a period of drinking even though one did not pass out or fall asleep.  It is rare for a non-alcoholic to have a blackout.  Most social drinkers will pass out, fall asleep, or throw up before having a blackout. Someday you may have an employee sitting in front of you who is in a blackout. Scary stuff. DOT Supervisor Training typically omits these fascinating discussions about blackouts, but frankly if the reasonable suspicion training program you face does not address it, you will bewildered about what to do.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

HEROIN: Drug and Alcohol Training for Supervisors in Reasonable Suspicion

Heroin addicts are a fascinating group of employees. While still employed, they can be the most convincing, well dressed, hardest working, and loyal workers on your payroll. There is just one problem, they are a runaway train. Heroin users frequently mess up their use which cause them to be absent from work without notice. And if they are not absent from work, they frequently have employees who will cover up their drug use and consequences because they do not want to see the employee fired. So the most amazing part of the heroin addicted employee is 1) complete and sudden absenteeism without phoning in  or prior notification, possibly gone for 2-3 days, and 2) lying like hell, convincingly to explain the absenteeism. There is a third thing -- missing items, materials, or tools that can be sold for money to buy more heroin. Heroin addicts are extremely difficult to treat because they believe a heroin habit if properly managed will not affect the social  or occupational well-being. Their supplier of the drug is person with whom they have the closest relationship.
As a DOT Supervisor, you will be completely stumped when this employee ends up in treatment or failing to follow through after working with you for 25 years.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Keeping Employee's Sober and In Treatment: Not Your Problem, But on Second Thought...

dot reasonable suspicion training followup chart
You actually are key. Now, don't let that put a lot of pressure on you as a DOT Supervisor. Reasonable Suspicion Training does not include any mandatory requirement to learn about follow-up, but would you like to know more about how it is done? It's the employee's responsibility of course to follow-through with any treatment recommendations or education recommendations, but in the case of treatment, it gets much trickier. Here is a follow-up chart that we recommend to employee assistance professionals or medical staff who are seeking to keep an employee in treatment who has been diagnosed as having addictive disease. The idea in this follow up system I created is to capture or catch the pending relapse and intervene before it can happen be weekly review of the employee's participation in a program of recovery. The most important factor in this chart is diminished involvement in the recovery program, and specifically, AA meetings. For example: An employee after exiting treatment following a positive DOT test participates gladly in 5 AA meeting per week, and has a sponsor with whom he or she speaks with five days per week. All of a sudden this drops to 3 meetings per week and verbal contact with the sponsor twice per week. ALARM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No relapse yet, but it is coming. And you have a motivated employee. A lack of follow up as you can see will contribute directly to the failure of the patient's recovery. The treatment program should handle all of these details, but as a supervisor, you should continue to document performance issues and provide work-related feedback to the employee regularly.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion and Marijuana: Here's How Spot Use on the Job (Glassy Eyes)

reasonable suspicion training what a pot smoker with glassy eyes looks like
Yep, glassy eyes....usually not allergies.
DOT Supervisor Training includes information about Marijuana of course, and the first thing you need to know is that it is addictive. Here is a photo of a guy stoned on pot at work.

You may not see this image in typical reasonable suspicion training, but here it is for your review. If you have never used pot (and there are millions of adults who have not) this photo is a classic. It's addictive, and yeah, complete with withdrawal symptoms too. Medical physicians use Simitrol treat the withdrawal syndrome. All who experiment with the drug will not become addicted. Just like alcohol. No different. Some become addicted and some don't. It's about ten percent, and guess what -- if you have alcoholism in your family, you're at higher risk.  Addiction is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that include irritability and cravings for some, which can be intense enough to require medication in a treatment setting.  A two to four fold increase in tolerance is not unusual for heavy marijuana users. Research has demonstrated that marijuana alters brain chemistry making users susceptible to other drug use.  This is accompanied by cellular withdrawal with abrupt cessation of the drug after long term use.  THC has the same impact as heroin on the key brain site that influences addiction to other drugs.  90% of poly-drug users say that marijuana was their first drug.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Don't Get "Tripped Up" as a DOT Supervisor

Someday you are going to confront an employee who has alcohol on his or her breath. You will use this as evidence that the employee may be under the influence. No problem, until the employee tells you rather convincingly, that he or she is entering an alcoholism treatment program today, and the treatment program told the employee not to stop drinking because the withdrawal will make it more difficult for them to do a proper detox. Guess what. This is exactly what treatment programs do. And it is perfectly medically valid. So you may say, whew, wipe your brow, and decide that there is no need to make a big stink out of the alcohol on the employee’s breath. There is only one catch. A treatment program would never say to continue going to work drinking, and even if it did, it makes no difference. Send the employee to testing. Never assume an alcohol or drug problem is properly treated simply because the employee reports having quit is entering treatment. There is a difference between self-imposed abstinence and understanding how to manage addictive disease properly using an applied daily program of recovery recommended by addiction specialists. DOT Supervisor Training often comes up short on explaining these small nuances, but now you know! And it is difficult to include every small nuance in reasonable suspicion training, but this is one I thought you might find interesting

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ditch the Term "Functional Alcoholic"

Reasonable suspicion training often omits (almost all of the training I've seen) any discussion about the concept of "functional alcoholism." If you are a DOT supervisor and have been trained in drug and alcohol awareness, and are still using this term, you have failed to grasp one of the most important educational elements in DOT supervisor training. Labeling someone a functional alcoholic is a strong and reinforcing enabling behavior. It is used to describe someone the enabler believes to be alcoholic, but also seems to “function” acceptably in their occupational or social activities--at least the ones that you are most familiar with. And this is the point. Usually these are areas where the enabler knows the alcoholic best. There is no such thing as functional alcoholism, just as there is no such thing as functional cancer. Both are chronic potentially fatal illnesses that grow worse over time. The term functional alcoholism allows the enabler to continue the advantages of the relationship they have with the alcoholic, even while the role as an enabler grows worse. The defense is called “minimizing", and it kills more alcoholics with kindness that cirrhosis. This tip sheet on Functional Alcoholism used in Reasonable Suspicion Training will give you more information.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Eyes and Ears of Supervisors Are Employees in Acting On Reasonable Suspicion

Sorry to say it, but it's true. Employees are key in reasonable suspicion training, so they need employee awareness training in substance abuse.

Reasonable suspicion training includes education for supervisors about the signs and symptoms of possible drug or alcohol use on the job. This education is crucial, but here is the truth. Employees should also be educated. They are on the front lines in the fight against workplace substance abuse. They point to problems so supervisors can act. The problem getting in the way is enabling.

Although the federal regulations say nothing for the most part about employees being educated about drugs and alcohol on the job and the various signs and symptoms that demonstrate potential use, coworkers are by default, the eyes and ears of the supervisor. Don't get me wrong. This is not their job, and training should never include any direction or guidance or even suggest that they should be the eyes and ears of the supervisor, but guess what: They are. That's the reality.

This happens by employees recognizing that something is wrong or knowing something associated with drug and alcohol use on the job is occurring, and then informing the supervisor who takes the proper action. If you do not educate employees as part of the reasonable suspicion training curriculum at least to the extent that they will stop enabling their fellow coworkers, then it is unlikely that you will obtain the impact you want from your DOT reasonable suspicion training of supervisors.

DOT Supervisor Training and Reasonable Suspicion Training should discuss the following enabling behaviors. These are the most common enabling behaviors of employees that will undermine your drug free workplace. Can you think of any others to include in your reasonable suspicion training for supervisors? 1) Accepting apologies and assurances for the temporary nature of problems. 2) Failing to confront problems caused by absenteeism and tardiness. 3) Doing the job of coworker.  Feeling sorry for coworker. 4) Caring and understanding “too much.” 5) Failing to confront drinking practices for fear of losing a friend.  6) Considering coworker a “functional alcoholic” who doesn’t affect you (yet.) 7) Protecting a coworker from management. 8) Promising to confront coworker if problems gets worse, and then adapting to “worse”, and not confronting coworker. 9) “Working around” the personality or drinking pattern of the alcoholic in order to have a functional relationship (i.e., anticipating mood swings, irritability in work interactions.) 9) Loaning large amounts of money. You can get a handout that includes these items in the DOT reasonable suspicion training program avialable in PowerPoint, DVD, Video, or online web course for reasonable suspicion training online.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion Training Factoid: Alcohol Use Can Look Quite Normal

As a supervisor governed by the DOT reasonable suspicion training guidelines, you are naturally going to receive a lot of scrutiny if you ever decide not confront an employee who who may be under the influence for drugs or alcohol on the job.

This portion of the alcoholic progress curve will be insightful. Can you see how the alcohol use in the beginning of the addiction progression can be quite normal. This however is the typical pattern. Reasonable suspicion training with covers these normal looking symtpso and how to make them fool you.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Alcohol and Drug Training is Useless Without Enabling Education (But DOT Training Does Not Require It!)

Alcohol and drug training education of the enabling pattern for reasonable suspicion training free dot materials
Alcohol and drug training must include enabling education so the dot supervisor interrupts this limiting pattern of behavior. Enabling training and awareness is therefore a must in alcohol and drug training for supervisors. This represents the first line of attack on the ignorance about addictive disease. Enabling at work is behavior exhibited by coworkers or supervisors that helps the addict not realize or face the consequences of his or her problem behavior resulting directly or indirectly from the alcohol or drug use.  Enabling typically appears as the "right" thing to do in response to the problem behavior but helps the alcoholic or addict escape responsibility for actions or problematic events.  DOT Supervisors are particularly vulnerable to practicing enabling behaviors, and the difficulty increases with the amount of time in the relationship between supervisors and supervised employee. Alcohol and drug training is almost useless without the education associated codependency, enabling, and manipulation. The ability of the addict to deny, rationalize, externalize, and minimize problems while having others accept excuses and explanations helps the addict get sicker. This image below offers free dot materials to help you grasp this concept better. It is a good image to study and will help you understand the enabling pattern we are talking about.

Alcohol and Drug Training Education of the Supervisor Enabling Pattern:

Friday, June 3, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion Training: How DOT Supervisors Enable--Even If They Drug/Alcohol Experts

If you don't think you are capable of enabling an employee who has a drug and alcohol problem, think again. Reasonable suspicion training often includes, and it must include all the signs, symptoms, effects, impact, dangers, etc. of drug and alcohol use. However, there is no requirement for supervisors to understand how all of this is undermined by enabling, so here is the list of enabling behaviors you are vulnerable to:
  • Ignoring job performance problems of the DOT employee, hoping they will go away, or are temporary.(This is an easy one to do on a busy and harried day.)
  • Threatening disciplinary action without following through on such threats. (It's just so much trouble, and maybe things will turnaround.)
  • Avoiding confrontation of employees who are considered friends. (Woops. The employee will say you are pot calling the kettle black.)
  • Avoiding confrontation because you are a heavy drinker like the employee needing referral. (Your drinking problem is worse!) The honest answer to this problem is to ignore your drinking issues for the time being, and do your job. Yes, that is best decision for now.
  • Accepting excuses for ongoing job performance problems.
  • Accepting employee’s request to avoid use of the EAP in favor of other helping options.
  • Ignoring the return of job performance problems after an EAP referral until they reach a intolerable level.
  • Not acting to arrange a reasonable suspicion breath test when the odor of alcohol exists—accepting explanations (medicine, etc.) for it.
  • Protecting the employee from personnel actions while increasing personal involvement to assist the employee.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

High Risk for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse DOT Workplaces

Is there such a thing as a high risk occupation with a greater likelihood that DOT employees with either be drunk on the job or suffering the effects of alcohol abuse or alcoholism? The answer is yes. But there is a catch.

Since alcoholism is not a "equal opportunity" illness (sound politically correct, but it is absolutely false) and those with genetic predispositions to it are more at risk, it stands to reason that jobs and industries that include a fair amount of socializing around alcohol will naturally possess a greater degree of alcohol and drug related problems among their employees.

So here is something for DOT Supervisors to remember: businesses with a high value on social activity with frequent use of alcohol or the traditional use of alcohol at lunch will see greater problems. These can include businesses associated with self-employment, and for example law firms, insurance agencies, the military brass, or other businesses where the employee with a biogenic predisposition to alcoholism has the opportunity to tax their susceptibility more.

Are there more lawyers with alcoholism for instance than school teachers? What about medical doctors who answer to no one but themselves and can easily drink at lunch? The answer is absolutely yes. High male demographic work groups with strong social ties to consuming alcohol will experience more alcoholism.

Industries characterized by frequent opportunity to use alcohol (or drugs), for example, organizations with higher rates of business travel, sales travel, evening work shifts with after-hours socializing with alcohol; isolated employees without direct supervision (i.e., non-office-like environments); exposure to served alcoholic beverages (airlines, hotel, restaurants); accessibility to addictive drugs: pharmaceutical, medical, and nursing occupations all have more drug related and alcohol related problems.

Are there more nurses who are alcoholic because they often socialize around alcohol after the 11 p.m. shift? Yes, alcoholism among nurses is twice the rate for non-nurses. But wait, it isn't the work shift or drinking alcohol after work that causes alcoholism, correct? Correct. It's genetic susceptibility, right? Right. Nurses are more likely to come from alcoholic families than other professions. The reason: codependency, a learned behavior at home. Are you having trouble with this post and this discussion? Is it flying in the face of your beliefs? Read the book, "Under the Influence" by James Miliam. It explains all. It is a mind blowing book about  genetics, susceptibility, and alcoholism. One of the few books in the bookstore on the subject of alcoholism that is worth picking up.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Don't Think You Won't Enable After DOT Supervisor Training

Many supervisors fail to act on the DOT supervisor training that they received because they still feel compelled to do something else other than confront the employee. If you do not think that this could ever be you, think again. Here the "practical" solutions may companies have taken to deal with substance abuse problems. Transferring the employee to another division or department to “get rid of” the problem. Using transfers as disciplinary actions. Failing to take action when promised in response to performance problems think they are temporary and will take care of them selves. Projecting your own alcohol and drug use excesses on the employee and believing just a little more willpower is necessary. Remember, most alcoholics and drug addicts have a belief that the abuse of alcohol or drugs when out of control is based upon willpower because their past history was success with willpower.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

60 Minutes of Alcohol Awareness and 60 Minutes of Drug Awareness

When you conduct DOT Supervisor Training, do not give 120 minutes of audio visual material. Instead make this about 75 minutes, and the with 25-30 test questions and a selection of handouts on reasonable suspicion training, teach the rest of the material. On the test questions, have answer whether right or wrong that educate the learner. Now you have package worth training with! You must help supervisors engage with the material, because if you do not, you will not be exercise due care in help them grasp the material so they will act on it.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What most DOT Supervisor Training Course Completely Overlook

Most dot supervisor training courses focus on signs, symptoms, effects, risk, and impact of substance abuse. Great--no problem with any of that. So, what's missing? The answer is myths and misconceptions about alcoholism. Wait! the U.S. Department of Transportation does not require that information at all, so why would it be important. Well, the answer is manipulation. Employee with substance abuse problems use a selection of defense mechanisms, like denial, to avoid their self-diagnosis. They know the symptoms of alcoholism or substance addiction that they do not have, and use this information to avoid anxiety caused by self-awareness. In other words, they are lying to themselves with awareness so they do need to take the next step and deal with the anxiety by getting treatment. That indeed is a tough assignment. But there are other defense mechanisms that help support the primary foundation defense mechanism of denial--and these are the ones employees will use against you as a supervisor. You can learn more about these defense mechanism if you click on the alcoholism button here, but also cover them all in the dot supervisor training course.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion Training: Understanding Drug Tolerance in the Employee You are Confronting

Reasonable Suspicion Training Handouts for DOT Supervisor Training
Tolerance is defined as the need to use larger amounts of a substance over time in order to experience its effects. Reasonable Suspicion Training must discuss this issue. If you do not understand tolerance, you will be manipulated by the average employee who appears to be drinking on the job. Most people who drink alcoholic beverages experience little or no changes in tolerance over the course of their lives (relative to body weight). However, approximately ten percent of drinkers do experience increases in tolerance. These drinkers are able to consume larger quantities of alcohol compared to their peers. While drinking, they may appear unaffected despite their higher blood alcohol level (BAL). These drinkers ONLY THINK THEY are less likely to become alcoholic because they can "handle it". The bottom line is that they are acquiring chemical dependency, and this process may last 20 years before it is noticed by the average supervisor. #dot supervisor training #reasonable suspicion training

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Reasonable Suspicion Training: The One Key Trip Wire to a Failed Effort

Reasonable Suspicion Training is much easier to understand than most companies think. The single biggest problem negatively affecting supervisor behavior is poor education about alcohol, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism. Most reasonable suspicion incidents related to behavior in the workplace concern alcohol abuse, drinking on job, and drinking at parties late into the night and coming to work still under the influence of beverage alcohol. You may be interested in visiting this impactful video and preview of a DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training program.