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Reasonable Suspicion Training Topic: Throw in Some News and Information on Teen Substance Abuse

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

We know that the U.S. Department of Transportation does not require that mandatory alcohol and drug education

Teen substance abuse for DOT Supervisor Training

training for DOT supervisors include information like teen drug abuse, enabling, or even job performance related information associated with employee substance abuse -- except of course, how these might affect psycho-motor skills. In other words, discussing absenteeism is not even relevant if you read the regulations.

Obviously, your training needs more than what the DOT recommends. If not, you're going to fall short of motivating DOT supervisors to act on the drug-free workplace policy if they stay awake, that is. And, this is the goal, correct--acting to refer to testing if signs and symptoms of substance abuse are demonstrated by reasonable suspicion?

The types of substances target for education include alcohol, stimulants, depressants, PCP, marijuana, and narcotics -- and now additional information associated with several types of opioids is required for federal agency DOT supervisors--but do offer some additional information about teen substance abuse and enabling.That's my recommendation. It doesn't have to a lot.

Teen Substance Abuse Training for DOT Supervisors Can Help

If you add the training mentioned above--only a few minutes is fine--it will do three things, all positive: 1) Make your training of supervisors less boring. 2) Make an impact on parents with the ability to intervene more effectively at home; and 3) contribute to the larger societal need to reduce substance abuse in general. And there is some news to share about this that you probably haven't heard. In fact, this news is national news.

Drug Abuse News DOT Supervisors and Employees in Alcohol and Drug Awareness Training Should Hear

And here's the good news the media did not report widely (I will give the media a break since there has been a lot of breaking news lately, or maybe bad news sells more soap, who knows.)

The story is that drug and alcohol abuse is down--way down--among teens! It is a huge national trend. Seriously, this is second coming headlines.

Researchers looked at all the numbers. They analyzed 210,000 young people for drug and alcohol use behaviors. This group was in the 12-17 years old age range. These teens were part of a survey that was conducted between 2003 to 2014.

Substance use disorders among this age group have dropped 49%! Substances associated with abuse of alcohol, cigarettes, illicit drugs, and opioids were all measured.

And here is the associated, correlated information you may want to bank on: fighting, assault, stealing, and selling drugs

Reasonable Suspicion Training Can Include Other Drug and Alcohol Education

or carrying a handgun--also dropped 34 percent among this group.

The researchers associated with study were from the Washington University School of Medicine.  Go to this link to see the news https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/large-declines-te...

The decline mentioned above spans about 12 years. So, we are looking at a definite trend, and with the sample being so large -- over 200,000 kids studied -- this is a seismic shift despite the encouraged decriminalization of marijuana nationwide sought by some states and encouraged with a wink and a nod by some national leaders. Go figure. Colorado is the exception, of course. There drug abuse there is up dramatically 300% as well as all the associated problems that come with marijuana use including auto accidents, child ER emergencies for THC poisoning, and more. But I digress....

The global assessment from researchers: Teens are becoming less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Teens are also delaying engaging in sexual behaviors more. And the opioid epidemic. What about that? Yup. Well, it's fallen among teenagers even though this problem is a national health emergency.

So, all this boils down to the fact that in 2014, there were fewer teens abusing drugs than in 2003 and it's a trend. In total they estimate is about 2,000,000 fewer addicted teenagers.

I would like to suggest that mentioning teen substance abuse, and handing literature to DOT supervisors in drug and alcohol training classes, will help them understand enabling. Do the same for employee substance abuse awareness training. You may want to also give a second presentation to parents of teens on substance abuse awareness, what parents should know.

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