Epidemic at work?: Businesses forced to deal with drug abuse

By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG Features Associated Press

The epidemic of drug use in the U.S. is forcing many small business owners to think about what they would do if they suspect an employee is abusing drugs or alcohol.

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Employment law attorney Shira Forman says many small business owners don't think ahead and create a written policy on alcohol and substance abuse, which makes them reactive.

Some owners do have a zero-tolerance policy. Others say they're willing to give staffers a second chance.

Phillip Cohen has hired people at his Missouri woodworking business who have struggled with addiction. But when an employee died from a drug overdose, he adopted a zero-tolerance policy.

Experts say if employers suspect staffers have substance abuse problems, their first step should be to consult a human resources professional or an employment lawyer.