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

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