16th Annual DRUGS DON’T WORK in South Georgia Seminar Addresses Benefits of Random Drug Testing

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The 16th Annual DRUGS DON’T WORK (DDW) in South Georgia breakfast seminar was held on June 13 at the Drury Inn & Suites. The seminar was sponsored by Peaceway Counseling & Mediation Services and Peaceway DUI School.

“DDW allows employers to offer a program of evaluation, treatment, counseling and support for employees and their families by way of employee assistance programs and rehabilitation services,” Lucretia Andrews said. “Chemical dependency can dramatically affect an employee’s ability to contribute to a company’s success. In economic terms, addiction can lead to drop in productivity, reduced product quality, increased absenteeism and higher health care costs. Peaceway Counseling and Mediation Services recognizes the importance of providing information, and recognizing, preventing and treating addiction in the workplace to employers and supervisors.”

The panelists included Dr. Lucretia Andrews (Peaceway Counseling & Peaceway DUI School), Dr. Tirrell Andrews (Peaceway Counseling & Peaceway DUI School), Jeana Beeland (CJB Industries), Stephen Cooper (SGMC Occupational and Industrial Medicine Center), Bhavesh Patel, MD (Peaceway Counseling & Peaceway DUI School) and Susan Gayoso, M.S. (Peaceway Counseling).

Topics included: reasonable suspicion for drug screening, the increase of prescription drug abuse in the workplace, adding alcohol to a company’s list of screened drugs and treatment options for workers suffering from substance abuse.

Gayoso discussed stress at work and how stress at home and work can lead to substance abuse.

Beeland talked about the importance of random drug testing from a human resources perspective and how it has led to a decrease in turnover at CJB Industries and has lowered their workers’ compensation insurance rates.

Cooper discussed the drug screening services that SGMC’s Occupational and Industrial Medicine Center offers, which include saliva and breath alcohol tests, on-site drug testing and management of random drug testing. “Random drug screenings lead to lower employee turnover, lower employee drug use and a safer work environment for all employees,” Cooper said.

Tirrell Andrews said that it is important for employers to screen for alcohol as well as illicit drugs because, on average, someone will drive intoxicated 400 times before they are arrested with a DUI. “When dealing with substance abuse, it is important to be proactive and intervene as soon as possible when drug use is suspected,” Tirrell Andrews said.

Patel discussed the rise of prescription drug abuse. He also mentioned that when employees voluntarily put themselves in a treatment program, they have a better chance of recovering from substance abuse than if an employer mandates treatment.

The DDW program has been creating safe, productive and drug-free workplaces in South Georgia for over 16 years. DDW membership can save a business 7.5% annually on their worker’s compensation insurance. Businesses that promote a drug free environment often experience an increase in productivity, safety, profits, customer satisfaction and employee morale. This seminar provided credit for DDW supervisor training, which is one of the steps to creating a drug free workplace.

If you are interested in signing your business up for the DRUGS DON’T WORK in South Georgiaprogram, contact Mike Stalvey at 229-247-8100 or email: mstalvey@valdostachamber.com.