|Perfume with Alcohol = Alcohol in Perfume.|
The last time you went to Walmart and bought some medicine, did you notice that it smelled like booze on your Uncle's breath? No, it did not.
There is no medicine sold at Walmart that will smell like booze. Yet, this is one of the most common of excuses given by employees for explaining alcohol on their breath.
There are dozens of excuses associated with employees who are confronted for reasonable suspicion of using substances on the job. Many are highly creative. However, most are not original, except to the alcoholic him- or herself, who thinks they sound pretty good. To make them sound even more believable, a lot of added emotion is typically injected into the explanation you'll hear. Shouting and intimidation are also typical garnishments designed to help you accept the excuse more readily.
Reasonable suspicion training requires understanding this information, which is why we are the only DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training Program in the USA that includes this educational information -- unless of course -- this content was "borrowed" from us. We're pros in what we produce. Not freelance authors. Trench work is our background, not library research.
Two common excuses you will hear from employees are similar - 1) I'm not drinking, it's mouthwash; and 2) "I'm not drinking, it's medicine."
You will discover that the degree to which employees are emphatic about the nature of the substance you are smelling, the more inclined you will be to believe them. This is because you are hard-wired to except excuses that sound plausible because life is easier if you do not have to confront your employee and require them to be tested. Don't fall for it.
Most people don't know that alcohol is put into cough syrups. Some have 25% alcohol, which is enough to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Although most alcoholic in withdrawal will not drink cough syrup, a percentage have, and some alcoholic women have even consumed perfumes or colognes containing alcohol. If you visit an open AA meeting (or a closed AA meeting if you are a member of AA) you will eventually hear about perfume drinkers.
But for the alcoholic on the job, admitting to consuming anything with alcohol in it gives you reasonable cause to request a test. The same is true with medicines or mouthwashes. Reasonable cause is determined and based upon what you are smelling, not what the employees tells you the substance you are smelling is. DOT Supervisor Training should include information like the above to help bring reality to the nature of the illness and the symptoms of reasonable suspicion for the consumption of alcohol on the job.