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DOT Drug and Alcohol Training Must Prepare Supervisors for a Tough and Unpleasant Challenge: Confrontation

Posted by Daniel A. Feerst, BSW, MSW, LISW-CP, Publisher on

Training supervisors to understand the signs and symptoms of substance abuse that may indicate a possibly intoxicated employee or an employee under the influence is the key challenge in DOT drug and alcohol training. However, helping supervisors overcome their anxiety and fear of confronting employees suspected of being under the influence is crucial, as well. This however, is not usually offered.

Education and training regarding this responsibility rarely happens in DOT supervisor training for one reason: It's not required. Lots of things that would be helpful are not required by the DOT in drug and alcohol training for supervisors. Understanding enabling for example--it's not required. Excuses DOT regulated employees give to avoid confrontation? Nope, not required. This is the reason programs that you can purchase online do not include it. It's usually all raw facts, effects, impact, signs, symptoms, etc. Most of this material is produced by non-clinicians, and of course, as a result falls short.

There is a way to make a solid impact on overcoming fear in confrontations. So let's discuss it because failure to confront employees properly, or at all, will increase risk to the organization. The key roadblock to confrontation is stigma. Stigma must be addressed in an effort to overcome it in any DOT drug and alcohol training, and the best way to do this is accurate information about addictive disease, its cause, human susceptibility to addiction, and a modern understanding of definition, symptoms, treatment, and intervention.

Unfortunately, it is not practical to spend several hours in training to do participate in role plays, and two hours for education and awareness required by the DOT pushes the limit of what employers are willing to allow as time away from the job site by supervisors. So one has to go the education route.

Incisive and insightful education about substance abuse that makes a memorable impact on supervisors and managers who are offered DOT drug and alcohol training will compel them to act. Target and obliterate myths, misconceptions, and bias based on false beliefs about addictive disease. The most important part of this “de-stigma” training is education about alcohol more so than any other drug. Alcohol is the most common substance of abuse and the drug with the most confusion surrounding it.

Let supervisors know in the beginning of your DOT drug and alcohol training that confronting an employee for reasonable suspicion is one of the hardest and most complex challenges they will face as a manager. It is difficult to initiate a discussion of this delicate and personal topic, and confrontations rarely proceed smoothly and happily. Then launch into your content. Let supervisors know that employees may be resistant at first and offer unusual explanations to avoid being tested. You will find our highly developed DOT drug and alcohol training here, and with a request, you can preview it in full.

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