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Course Catalog

Detecting Substance Abuse in the Workplace


  • Eric Sweden
    Lieutenant, Raleigh Police Department, NC

Over 15% of the United States workforce has self-reported being under the influence of alcohol in the workplace at least once in the last year, according to according to the National Institutes of Health. Add prescription drugs, illegal drugs and other impairing substances to the mix—particularly in light of nationwide legalization and decriminalization of certain drugs—and it seems only reasonable to suspect that this trend will rise.

The cost of impairment in the workplace is enormous—due to safety concerns, liability risks, lost productivity and increased health care costs.

This course is designed to help students acquire the knowledge, skill and ability to determine if impairment exists and, if it does, whether the impairment is caused by a medical condition, alcohol, drugs or a combination of drugs. We will utilize a known pattern of signs and symptoms along with simple divided attention tests to be able to articulate the evidence of impairment.

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

    • Define the term “Drug” as it pertains to identifying impairment in the workplace.
    • Explain “reasonable suspicion” in the context of employee drug testing.
    • List the three-pronged test for determining impairment in the workplace.
    • List the seven categories of drugs of impairment.
    • Differentiate between Clinical and General Indicators.
    • List three divided attention tests which can be completed in the workplace.
    • Given an employee fact pattern, articulate the presence of impairment

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