October 19, 2009
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Guy Cousins, Director
Office of Substance Abuse 207-287-2595
October 19-25 Designated Drug-Free Work Week
AUGUSTA - Recognizing the seriousness of substance abuse on people and businesses across the state, Governor John E. Baldacci has proclaimed October 19-25 Drug-Free Work Week in Maine. The goal of the week is to raise awareness of programs that help to prevent worker impairment, increase employee health and encourage workers with alcohol and drug problems to seek help.
"The estimated cost of substance abuse in Maine is about $898 million," said Guy Cousins, Director of the Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) "More than $155 million of that overall cost is attributed to lost productivity in the workplace."
OSA, through its Substance Abuse and the Workplace Program (SAW), works collaboratively with the Maine Department of Labor and other partners to address the effects of substance abuse in the workplace. In September and early October, SAW offered a series of statewide trainings for substance abuse prevention and treatment providers on how they may assist employers in creating their own Drug-Free Workplace Program.
Businesses that promote a drug-free environment often experience an increase in productivity, safety, profit, customer satisfaction and employee morale, Cousins said. At the same time, absenteeism, turnover and accidents typically decrease, especially when an employee begins treatment.
"Research shows that the potential return on investment is $20 for every $1 spent on prevention,'' Cousins said.
Drug-Free Work Week is coordinated by the U.S. Depart of Labor's Working Partners for an Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace program, in partnership with its Drug-Free Alliance and several other federal agencies and non-profits.
Information and resources for business owners who are looking to establish an alcohol and drug-free workplace can be found at w ww.maine.gov/workalert . The site offers specific guidance for employers, as well as a list of those who may be able to assist in the process.
The Governor's proclamation reads:
WHEREAS, reducing alcohol and drug abuse is an essential part of keeping Maine's workplaces safe and economy healthy; and
WHEREAS, Maine is committed to protecting the safety and health of the state's working men and women by eliminating drug and alcohol use on the job; and
WHEREAS, the cost of alcohol and substance abuse cost Maine citizens $898 million or $682 for every citizen in 2005; and
WHEREAS, implementation of Drug Free Workplace policies and programs help to reduce the cost of alcohol and drug abuse to society and help to bring the state of Maine one step closer to being the healthiest state in the nation,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN E. BALDACCI, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim October 18-25, 2009 as
DRUG FREE WORK WEEK
throughout the State of Maine , and urge all citizens to recognize this observance.