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Helping members keep drug-free offices.

Helping Members Keep Drug-Free Offices

Among employers, maintaining a drug-free workplace is no small concern - and no small task. The Wichita Independent Business Association, Kansas, shows how associations can help.

Since February 1990, WIBA has operated an innovative program to help its members maintain drug-free workplaces. "Many recreational drug users leave larger firms that institute drug testing and head to small businesses, such as those WIBA represents," reasons WIBA Executive Director Roland Smith.

Concerned by such staggering statistics as "four of five drug users are recreational users and are in the work force," WIBA's president initiated the program. He actually tested a workplace drug program - the one WIBA planned to use - in his own business. Among the program's elements: an employee assistance program and drug testing for new applicants and for employees whose behavior gave cause.

In late 1989 WIBA adopted the new member service. WIBA offers the program to members through its provider, Pro-Med Consultants, at a setup cost of $190. Pro-Med administers each contract, and WIBA serves as monitor, verifying that firms are association members and evaluating member satisfaction with the program.

"We've spent under $3,000 on this," notes Smith. "We do some mailings, promotion literature, and host informational meetings, and that's it."

The provider establishes contact with subscribing firms by sending its employee assistance program and personnel to meet with firm leaders and explain the plan. Then the EAP personnel hold a meeting with employees to address concerns about the plan's elements. Drug testing is available through the program, as is drug-free awareness counseling and assistance for employees testing positive.

Smith explains that the program took off slowly: Most WIBA member firms are small, so many of their executives didn't believe they needed a drug-use-elimination program. But according to WIBA, positive-drug-test rates have some businesses reevaluating their positions: Of the job applicants tested through participating businesses thus far, 9-12 percent have rated positive. Local businesses employing the program also report a 30-50 percent reduction in workers' compensation injuries, according to WIBA.

Several businesses using the WIBA-sponsored program have noticed a decrease in job applications, says Smith, and some participants even contend that an applicant occasionally turns around at the door after seeing the drug-free workplace sign posted at the receptionist's desk. According to Smith, that's one indication the program is doing its job: keeping small Wichita businesses free of drugs.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:association members
Publication:Association Management
Date:May 1, 1991
Previous Article:Desert storm.
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