Archive for September, 2010
On Tuesday, Teen Recovery Day was observed at Tulsa Community College (TCC) through various events, which included group discussions, prevention workshops, an art project, and presentations by Alateen, a part of Al-Anon, and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
According to a report on Tulsa World, more than 100 teens from various high schools and recovery programs in Oklahoma attended the event, which was held in the Northeast Campus of TCC. During the small group discussions, there were stories of peer pressure, depression, loneliness, experimentation, and a history of addiction in the family.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services revealed that nearly 6 percent of teenagers in the state – roughly 20,000 – need treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs. Sharolyn Wallace, associate professor of human services, and director of the Center for Addiction Prevention Recovery Support at TCC, said that the issue of drugs among teens is “pretty widespread.”
TCC student and recovering addict Becca Sullivan shared her story in one of the small-group sessions. She had experimented with drugs and alcohol as a teenager, and said: “Everything I did that felt good for a second… became a nightmare. I felt hopeless. I was worse than dead. I was spiritually dead.” She shared further that she began to drink and do drugs to fit in. Sullivan has been in recovery for two years, and is currently taking classes at the TCC, hoping to get into counseling in the future.
According to Wallace, TCC is one of the few schools in the country that has a collegiate recovery center.
In a previous post, we shared a couple of reasons why drug-free workplace plans don’t work, and we would like to share some more.
While it is important for organizations to consistently implement the policies that they have in place, it is as important to ensure that these policies are timely and updated. What this means is that consistency should not be the be-all and end-all of company policies, and should not be a reason to prevent companies from reviewing the policies that they have in place in order to meet changing needs.
A document from the DEA suggests training supervisors thoroughly. Supervisors ought to understand and feel comfortable with the factors that point to “reasonable suspicion” that drug or alcohol use is getting in the way of job performance. Another reminder is to have a system of checks and balances: when a supervisor notices signs of drug and alcohol abuse, someone higher than the supervisor should review the observations before the employee is required to undergo a drug test.
It is helpful to keep in mind that prevention is cheaper than actually dealing with a drug or alcohol-related accident at work. This makes drug testing important, because it is a good way to prevent accidents due to drug use from happening at work.
It is also important to have a little bit more belief in drug testing, instead of being resigned to the fact that people cheat on drug tests all the time. There are labs that can beat anyone who tries to cheat by also testing for adulteration, substitution or specific gravity, so it is suggested that organizations pick labs that provide this extra service.
More news on actress Lindsay Lohan: she is reportedly headed back into rehab on Monday. This time around, though, she is checking herself in voluntarily, at least based on information from a source close to the actress. This was shared in a feature on CNN.
Ms. Lohan spent some time in jail again after failing a random drug test. She spent 13 days in jail and 23 days in a court-mandated rehab program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center just last month. The actress was originally ordered to spend 90 days each in jail and in rehab, but was released early. This time around, she spent 14 hours in jail.
Lohan admitted to the failed drug test last week, and sent out the following tweet: “Substance abuse is a disease, which unfortunately doesn’t go away over night… I am working hard to overcome it and am taking positive steps.”
One positive step is going into rehab voluntarily, something that her dad Michael Lohan, at least according to him, has been pushing for, He said: “Finally, they listened to me.” He expressed hope that Shawn Chapman Holley, his daughter’s lawyer, would do “the right thing and advises her to go right into rehab now, and show the judge she’s serious, because in 30 days when she goes back before the judge he can do whatever he wants.”
Lindsay Lohan was released on $300,000 bail. The bail terms called for Lindsay to be fitted with an alcohol monitoring bracelet. A probation revocation hearing had been scheduled for October 22.
National Take Back Day, a campaign led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with the goal of relieving Americans of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs that may potentially be dangerous, was able to gather 1½ tons of medicines. These medicines will then be properly disposed of, instead of being flushed down toilets or mixed in with coffee grounds, or worse, abused by teenagers.
A feature on the Houston Chronicle shared the following statement from Ray Andrews, the director of Houston Crackdown, the anti-drug division of the mayor’s office for public safety and homeland security: “The medicine cabinet has become the new drug dealer… To the extent we can warn people about drugs and help people dispose of their unused and expired drugs in a legal manner, we are literally saving lives.”
The primary goal of the effort is to reduce prescription drug abuse, but there is another issue that the effort was able to address: environmental concerns that may arise out of improper disposal of prescription drugs, which can potentially contaminate a community’s water supply.
Despite the repeated announcements that the drop-offs will be anonymous – no questions asked – there are still people who were bashful as they dropped off their medicines. And despite the significant amount of medicines that were gathered, there were collection sites that did not have that much traffic.
Anthony Scott, an assistant special agent in charge in the Houston office of the DEA, said: “Nobody’s going to get locked up behind this. We’re not going to peel off a label and look at someone’s name and that’s what they were afraid of… We’re hoping that the word gets out from this go-round that nothing bad came out of it and nobody got arrested, and I think next time we do it we’ll be more successful than we were today.”
There are many efforts being waged to fight drug abuse and one of these wars is being fought in the workplace. There are a number of organizations that already have drug-free workplace programs in place, but unfortunately, not all of these programs are working the way they should. The Working Partners for an Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace of the U.S. Department of Labor shares a few reasons why.
One reason is insufficient dissemination. There is a policy in place, but no one really knows what it says, which essentially defeats the purpose of the policy. In order to remedy the situation, companies that are in this situation need to pull out their policies, review them to ensure that they are timely, and update them if necessary. Once the policy has been sufficiently updated, it needs to be distributed to all employees and supervisors, and explained to them. Then the employees should be allowed to ask questions about the policy, and required to sign acknowledgement receipt forms.
For companies that implement random drug testing, it is important to keep employees educated about the procedure in order to help them keep an open mind about it. There are those who view drug testing as nothing but invasive, and thus looks at it with disdain. If they are made to understand how it can protect the company and contribute to the job security and personal safety of each employee, then the program will gain invaluable employee support. There are unions that actually support, rather than defy, drug testing, for as long as these programs are implemented fairly, with “procedures that ensure the integrity, accuracy and confidentiality of the results and provide opportunities for workers to get help and retain their jobs.”
We will share other drug-free workplace policy pitfalls in succeeding posts.
More than 3,400 collection sites have been set up in the nationwide effort to take back expired, unwanted and unused prescription drugs, led by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Dubbed as “National Take Back Day,” the goal of the effort is to prevent an increase in prescription drug abuse, as mentioned in several of our previous posts. We would like to share the locations of some of these collection sites, for the benefit of those who are interested in participating in this effort. More locations are available at the DEA website; you can conveniently key in your zip code, city and state to find the most convenient collection site nearest to you.
Here are some sites in California:
• Albertsons Shopping Center Alpine, 2955 Alpine Blvd., Alpine, CA, 91901
• Food 4 Less Shopping Center, 109 W. Birch, Calexico, CA, 92231
• Granite Bay High School, #1 Grizzly Way, Granite Bay, CA, 95746
• City of Long Beach Health Department, 2525 Grand Ave., Long Beach, CA, 90815
• Starbucks Coffee Shop, Prunetree Shopping Center, 17543 Vierra Canyon Road, Salinas, CA, 93907
• University of California, San Diego, Parking Lot 705, Intersection of Genesee & Campus Point Drive, La Jolla, CA, 92093
• Laguna Beach Unified School District, Across from Laguna Beach High School, 550 Blumont Street, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651
The DEA assures everyone that the service is absolutely free and anonymous; no questions will be asked. National Take Back Day collection sites will be open from 10 am through 2 pm local time on Saturday, September 25.