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After Reasonable Suspicion Training is Completed and Referrals Happen: Will Employees in Sabotaged in Treatment?

Posted by Daniel Feerst, BSW, MSW, LISW-CP on

After training managers or supervisors in drug and alcohol awareness, including signs, symptoms, impact, and effect on the workers psycho-motor skills, required by the DOT for reasonable suspicion training, be sure so offer a bit of education to all participants about being careful not sabotage treatment in the event an employee is referred following a positive test and assessment.

The sabotage of addicts in treatment is a common dynamic, and demonstrates unfortunately the natural ignorance most persons have about addictive disease and also the strength of enabling as a dynamic that seeks out the addict out like a bloodhound with determination to "help" by saying and doing all the wrong things for the right reasons. Much of this AMA prevention responsibility lies with the treatment program and the counselor's ability to educate family members and concerned persons about the role of the family in support of recovery.

Of course, the potential impact of a relapse is unpredictable, and its cost can be immeasurable. This provides the rationale for spending 1-2 minutes on this topic with supervisors so they appreciate the importance and fragility of an inpatient admission to an addiction treatment program.

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Experience has shown that one of the most common reasons patients leave treatment against medical advice (AMA) is improper medication which fails to thwart nervous system irritability during withdrawal and detoxification.

The ensuing emotional augmentation resulting from withdrawal makes patients highly susceptible to conflict and their spring-loaded desire to leave treatment if only a "good reason" appears. These things make for a bad combination. Mix into this stew any provocative interaction between the workplace, family, or the boss and you have a nearly unstoppable force and desire to leave treatment.

To protect the patient, the company, and society, tell supervisors that after admission to treatment, that they should go through the EAP and coordinate communication with them. (Obviously a release is required.) Typically, EAPs can communicate almost anything of importance to treatment counselors and patient. Tell supervisors that if employees and coworkers or peers find out about their friend being in treatment--and it will happen--that the supervisor should not encourage phone calls and visitations by friends.

Being in treatment is not like having a broken leg. Luckily, most treatment programs will limit contact to close family and friends because of the risk of AMA brought about by antagonistic persons, so-called friends, and drinking or drug using acquaintances--especially suppliers. Some of these suppliers could be fellow workers who sell drugs and will brig them to the patient in treatment. Tell supervisors that this is no uncommon, and show the level of difficulty patient experience in remaining motivated.

This all depends on the quality of the treatment program, how well it communicates among its 24 hour staff, and rules they enforce associated with patient contact and with whom.

Related Products:

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Family Role in Recovery (good for employees too)

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