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Supervisor Enforcement Can Reduce Employees’ Substance Abuse at Work


Workers report drinking less on the job when they think their supervisor can detect substance abuse problems and are willing to take corrective action, suggests a new study. Supervisor enforcement also leads to less illicit drug use both on and off the job, the study found.

The findings suggest that contact with a supervisor, even if it is frequent, is not a strong enough deterrent for some employees, according to Newswise. “It’s only when employees think their supervisor knows how to detect substance use, and is willing to do something about it, that employees’ drinking and drug use on the job decreases,” lead researcher Michael Frone, PhD, of the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, said in a news release.

The findings indicate that supervisor training in how to detect and deal with employee substance abuse could help reduce alcohol and drug use on the job, Frone said.

The study included 2,429 employees in 48 states, who were interviewed in a random telephone survey. The research is part of a research project, “Workplace Substance Use: A National Prevalence Study,” funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The study is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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