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Evaluating your drug-free workplace program

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Evaluating your drug-free workplace program

Program evaluation is an important part of any drug-free workplace program. Periodic evaluation lets you know if you are saving money and improving your bottom line. There are several ways to evaluate your program. Some employers hire a consultant, while others elect to conduct their own evaluations. For organizations with limited resources, this section offers guidelines for conducting a basic evaluation of your drug-free workplace program.

  • Step one: Establish a baseline. In other words, assess your organization as it is today. Specifically, check your company records for the past two years and figure out the incidence and prevalence of some or all of the following factors, which can be indicators of problems with alcohol or other drug abuse:
    • Absenteeism
    • Tardiness
    • Health care benefit utilization
    • Workers' Compensation claims
    • Theft
    • Accidents
    • Turnover

Estimate the costs of these factors in dollars, if possible. If records are not available for years past, start tracking the trends now. Also talk to employees at all levels of the organization to assess the current overall morale of the staff. This will give you baseline data for determining the impact of your program during the coming years.

  • Step two: Start your drug-free workplace program. Use available resources to help you plan and implement your program.
  • Step three: Review the records at the end of the first year (and in subsequent years) for the factors listed above. Also reassess employee morale. Compare the results to your baseline data. Have there been any changes? Determining the success of your program will depend on your original goals. Revisit your original goals. Ask employees and supervisors to offer feedback. Talk to employees and supervisors about their perceptions of the impact of the policy and/or program. Cost savings may take some time to accumulate, but improved employee morale may be evident right away.
  • Step four: Establish an ongoing plan for evaluating your program to assess the cost/benefits of continuing your drug-free workplace program.
  • Step five: Use the results to modify your program. Establish a regular review period-perhaps annually-and use that time to assess the progress of the program. Determine the steps needed in the next year to reach your program goals. Consider developing a committee of employees from all levels of the workforce to assist in both the ongoing evaluation and the implementation of program changes.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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