Being Recovery Friendly Helps Workplaces Be Drug-Free

Most employers have a drug free workplace policy in place. Some employers are also working to become recovery friendly. These two initiatives are aligned. Being a recovery friendly workplace means supporting recovery, which supports being a drug free workplace.

When you, as an employer, become a recovery friendly workplace, you are opening the door to opportunity -  not only for possible new employees who are  in recovery, but also for current employees who may be battling addiction or who have a  family member with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and have chosen to remain silent until now. Being recovery friendly also involves guidance and limitations on opiate prescriptions which supports the prevention of SUD.


Education is pivotal to successful prevention of substance misuse and SUD recovery. Training supervisors in how to recognize signs of SUD and what to do about it is useful. Training employees on your policies, how to get help, and on SUD generally also helps. Training can also cover topics like reducing stress, managing weight, exercise, nutrition, and managing pain. The skills your employees receive from such training courses are helpful, whether they are in recovery or not.

Training does not have to be special, one-time courses. The courses can be integrated into your existing health and wellness programs and can be delivered periodically.

Employee Assistance Program

Another aspect of becoming a recovery friendly workplace is the assessment of your employee assistance program. If your EAP is equipped to handle SUD, that can go a long way to supporting recovery. A well-structured EAP will reinforce your drug-free workplace policies.

For EAPs to be effective, they must be promoted by management and supervisors. They also need to be easy to access and use. Employees must have confidence and value the EAP and know their patient privacy will be protected. If an employee knows he or she can privately access things like confidential substance misuse screening, counseling, treatment, and support services via your EAP, substance misuse can be reduced.

Group Engagement

Another tool that supports being both recovery friendly and drug free are group discussions.  Hosting group talks where employees can share their recovery stories, hosting a support group meeting for employees and family, or hosting medication take-back programs periodically throughout the year are all effective in supporting the twin goals.

About the Author: Amber Howard

Amber has provided human resource consulting to large and small businesses in a variety of industries. Her experience includes benefits, employee relations, organizational development, training, talent acquisition, team building, compliance, policy development and managing the complete employee lifecycle. She holds a BA degree and SHRM-CP and PHR certifications.
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