NDC urges local employers to develop drug policies

| 15/10/2010

(CNS): With the start of annual Drug-free Work Week on Monday the National Drug Council is encouraging companies in the Cayman Islands to create drug free work environments and to introduce official policies. The purpose of the awareness week is to highlight the benefits of drug-free workplaces and what resources are available to help people suffering from substance abuse. NDC Executive Director Joan West-Dacres said that both alcohol and drug abuse are detrimental to productivity and not just private matters.

The public awareness campaign, which runs from 18-24 October, also aims to educate employers, employees and the general public on how to achieve safe, healthy and drug-free work environments.
“People might view their addictions as private matters but the fact is, substance abuse can weigh on fellow workers or even worse, place them at risk,” West-Dacres said. “As part of our National Anti-drug Strategy, we have identified the vital importance of encouraging companies to develop drug policies that outline treatment options and supporting staff on their road to recovery.”
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about participating in Drug-free Work Week by contacting the NDC. West-Dacres invited everyone to take part in this year’s awareness activities:
“We encourage employees and employers to contact us if should they need assistance with developing a company drug policy. We also have other Drug-free Work Week resources available,” she added.
Employers should include their employees in drafting drug policies through an open forum or by privately asking opinions, West-Dacres recommended and said that the payroll was the perfect place to distribute information about drug misuse and the available support agencies.
“Pay-checks are one thing that every employee gives attention,” she said. “For Drug-free Work Week, raise awareness by including a leaflet or message listing sources of help for those with substance abuse problems.”
The director noted that it presented a perfect opportunity to remind staff about the availability of free confidential support programmes and counselling services, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the Employee Assistance Programme and the Department of Counselling Services.
Health Minister Mark Scotland said a drug-free workplace benefits everyone. “However, as with most societal challenges, ensuring safe, supportive and drug-free work environments takes a collaborative effort. “I therefore urge all sectors of society – workers, managers, employers, friends and families – to commit to this ideal,” he added.
For more information contact the NDC at 949-9000, e-mail them at info@ndc.ky or visit www.ndc.ky
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