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Program's Success Spawns More Funding.

Lowell Medical Center's drug-free workplace program recently got an increase and an extension on its U.S. Small Business Administration funding.

Last year, the center received $184;000 to help businesses set up drug free programs. Because of the LMC program's success the grant was upped to $203,000 and continued through September 2001.

The funding, which is coordinated through the SBA's Small Business Development Center at Little Rock, has so far helped LMC set up 11 local drug-free workplaces.

Michiele Schrieber, the program's coordinator, said there are a number of incentives for local businesses to participate, including lower insurance costs. Businesses that demonstrate successful administration of a drug-free program get at least a 5 percent premium credit on their worker's compensation insurance.

Among the companies that have started drug-free programs, are Butterfield Trial Village in Fayetteville and Glad Manufacturing Co., Pelfreez and Reiss Painting, all in Rogers.

Charlie Swank, Butterfield's director of nursing, said LMC's initiative has worked for her company. She said it's difficult to measure just how much a drug-free work place can save a company financially.

"I have a health care business here at a long term care facility," Swank said. "If I can do pre-employment drug screens, I can stop employees with drug problems before they become a problem for us."

Schrieber said her organization first does a needs assessment for a business, then helps write, supervise and support the drug-free program through its integration.

"Basically, we've been exceeding our goals," Schrieber said.
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Author:Wood, Jeffrey
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jul 3, 2000
Words:248
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