Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DOT Training and Reasonable Suspicion Tip 7: “It’s okay, I’m back in treatment.”

Here is another tip for you to consider in your DOT Training for Supervisors .
Employees with unmanaged or untreated alcohol or drug problems frequently know more about their problem than others around them. They know exactly what they should be doing to treat their illness—but don’t.

Motivational presentations and demonstrations of sudden insight are usually manipulative in nature. They can sway unwitting supervisors from acting on the drug testing policy. Be aware that anyone who has an untreated alcohol or drug problem is desperate to avoid confronting the problem. The need to use and the short term pain of withdrawal are so overwhelming that the substance abuser will resort to actions that seem far out of character.

It doesn’t matter whether a substance abuser has never had treatment or is currently relapsing. The behavioral patterns are the same. One unfortunate side effect of treatment is that it sometimes teaches relapsed substance abusers how to “fake it” by saying the right things to convince others that there isn’t a problem.

Being in treatment doesn’t give anyone a free pass. Most drug and alcohol treatments emphasize the substance abuser’s responsibility in regaining lost trust and credibility. If you suspect an employee is under the influence of drugs and alcohol, then document and test to confirm whether or not your observations are correct. It’s the only way to be sure.