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PSY 425 Entire Course Discussion Questions

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Week Four Discussion Questions Week 1 DQ 1 How does drug abuse affect the work place? Substance abuse affects the workplace in a variety of ways. Whether it be illegal narcotics, prescription drugs, or alcohol the affects are all similar. These types of substances can impair an individual's judgment and can cause serious safety issues among other things. These are some of the problems inherent from substance abuse in the workplace: 1. More absenteeism and tardiness can be expected along with job-related accidents. 2. Businesses lose money each year because of substance abuse. 3. Employees who use drugs in the workplace are less productive than non-users. 4. Thefts rise along with damaged equipment and other unnecessary costs. 5. Non-users may have to work harder to make up for the problem employees (Dfaf, 2008).

Larger corporations have a better handle on drug issues as they have established drug policies in effect and many of these corporations implement random drug tests. Smaller businesses are affected the most as they do not have established drug policies, usually do not require drug testing, and do not have the financial reserves to cover company related accidents. I have personally seen a few individuals lose their jobs because of drug abuse. One recently was an employee in his mid 20's. Someone called and said his truck was driving erratically on the road. To make a long story short he failed the drug test. Substance abuse in the workplace not


only affects the business and fellow employees but it also affects the family life. This individual had a wife and new infant. References Dfaf. (2008). How Does Substance Abuse Affect the Workplace. Retrieved from http://www.dfaf.org/content/how-does-substance-abuse-affect-workplace

Week 1 DQ 2 Why do you think people are reluctant to confront illegal drug use in families or the workplace? It's a sensitive issue in families. Most individuals do not want to cause a rift between family members. It is one thing to speculate that someone is using drugs as false accusations could cause more problems, and it is another to know a family member is using and back him or her into a corner. I have personal experience with family members and friends using hard drugs so I have been in those situations. One of my relatives and her boyfriend both hit rock bottom before anyone really said anything to them. It took jail time and child services to straighten them out. No one in the family really wanted to say anything because I think everyone believed they would have denied it. I also had a friend who passed away about 3 months ago from a drug overdose. I constantly tried talking to him about the implications of what he was doing to his son, family, and friends but the drugs had too hard a hold on him. It was hard for me to bring the subject up because it was uncomfortable for both of us. In the job place employers must watch confronting someone about drug abuse unless they have absolute proof. Lawsuits are a far too prevalent these days. I think the crux of the situation


is the comfort level people are stepping out of. It can be hard to talk to someone about drug abuse without portraying one's self as a nosy body when the real reason is the person cares. Week 2 DQ 1 How has the perception of some drugs changed over time? How have some drugs become more or less socially accepted and in what context? Specifically speaking, the perception of marijuana has changed dramatically. In 2003 it was estimated that some 25 million people in America used the drug in some capacity. A contributing factor to this statistic stems from the reduced penalties. According to Rosalie Liccardo Pacula (2005, para. 2), "during the 1990s several states reduced the penalties or criminal status of first-time marijuana possession offences involving small quantities of marijuana and some other states enacted legislation that gave patients protection from prosecution in state courts if they used or grew marijuana for medicinal purposes." The medical use of marijuana is slowly becoming more accepted as more states adapt laws for medicinal use. Personally I believe one drug that has become less socially accepted is oxycontin. Individuals who ingest large doses of the pill are at risk of respiratory depression that can ultimately lead to death. Inexperienced or new users are at larger risk because he or she may be unaware of dose amounts and tolerance for the drug. Also users experience withdrawal symptoms such as bone/muscle pain, diarrhea, restlessness, insomnia, cold flashes, and vomiting (NDIC, 2003). Oxy has become so widespread that stiffer penalties may be imposed on convicted distributers, etc. References NDIC. (2003). Oxycontin Fast Facts. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/ndic/pubs6/6025/index.htm


Pacula. (2005, Winter). Marijuana Use and Policy: What We Know and Have Yet To Learn. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/reporter/winter05/pacula.html

Week 2 DQ 2 What effect can drug use have on families? What resources are available to family members of drug abusers? Addiction is often called a family disease because not only is the user affected but also each member of the family who deals with the individual's problems. "Whether the loved one with addiction is an alcoholic, does illicit drugs, takes prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes, or engages in compulsive behaviors such as gambling, work, sex, shopping, or eating, these actions and behaviors affect everyone in the family" (Drug Addiction, 2010). I have seen a handful of families affected by addicts and it is sad to see. One of best friends put his mom through hell before drugs finally took his life. According to Arcouncil (2010, para. 4), " Substance abuse is a major public health problem that puts millions of adolescents at increased risk for alcohol- and drug-related traffic accidents, risky sexual practices, poor academic performance, juvenile delinquency, and developmental problems." Dealing with kids who are addicts can take years off of one's life. Resources exist in which families can access for help coping with addicts. The common avenues that most of us already know are the 12 step programs and AA. With the advent of the internet a plethora of options exist for family help resources. One need only search the numerous websites available for assistance in coping and helping addicts in the family.


References Arcouncil. (2010). Help For Family Members. Retrieved from http://www.arcouncil.net/help-forfamily.html

Drug Addiction Treatment. (2010, August 25). How Does Drug Addiction Affect the Family. Retrieved from http://www.drugaddictiontreatment.com/addiction-in-the-news/addictionnews/how-does-addiction-affect-the-family/ Week 3 DQ 1 In what ways may an employer be an enabler to an employee using drugs? How may this be avoided? I could not find a whole lot of information on employers enabling drug use so I will speak from experience. Pulling from a previous discussion question, small shops generally do not have implemented drug policies. Because of this employees feel more enabled to use drugs as he or she sees no concrete repercussions. Also if the owner or manager of the shop does drugs himself he or she will be more apt to look the other way when drug use is suspected. Another way employers enable drug use is by giving employees too many chances. A person with a real drug problem who is given more than one chance to change may think, why change I'll keep getting second chances. Second chances do help some individuals clean up although sometimes I do not agree with the way it is accomplished. About a year ago an employee received a DUI and his CDL was limited because of it. About 6 months later he received another DUI and lost his CDL. The company decided to promote him to a different position with around a $15k raise. Did he straighten up? Maybe, but how is this fair to


individuals who are trying to promote from hard work? Ways in which to help stop enabling drug use are as follows: 1. Drug free workplace policy. 2. Supervisor Training. 3. Employee Education. 4. Drug Testing. 5. Crisis management. 6. Employee Assistance (Stanley, 2009). References Stanley, T.L. (2009). Workplace Substance Abuse: A Grave Problem. Supervision, 70(6), 18-21 Week 3 DQ 2 What in your work environment might encourage or discourage drug use? I work for a major multi-state energy company. The biggest as of the present time. Drug policies are prevalent throughout the service centers, offices, etc. along with information about treatment programs and help hotlines. The pay is very good and job security is better than most jobs out there. I personally could not find a reason to jeopardize my career here for quick "high". However that is only my view. There are 17000+ other employees who work here as well. I think factors that could contribute to drug use would work related stress and dangerous conditions. Safety is a huge concern here as there are high voltages throughout the system. Electrical shock is still something very apparent although it is very rare. I think the added stress from hidden dangers and days with long work hours could be a contributing factor. For the most part though, drugs are not a problem. As we are required to carry a class A CDL we are subject to both the company's drug testing and the CDL random drug test. The


chances are too great for a test to occur. Also the legal limit for CDL owners is .02. It could conceivably take one beer to receive a DUI. I think the policies in place here do an excellent job of deterring drug use. Week 4 DQ 1 Should an employer base employment on a drug test’s results? "While some may consider drug testing, credit checks, reference checks, and other preemployment checks to be Gestapo tactics, they are a requirement for many companies. And, yes, in most cases they are legal" (College Grad, 2012, para. 1). As someone who dabbled in recreational substances some 20 years ago I do agree that employment should be based on test results. I worked at Lincoln Electric and Kraftmaid before I obtained employment at my current profession. Both were factories and both contained substance abusers above the norm. These types of factories are dangerous sober so one can understand that not working under full faculties can result in injuries or death. Drug tests are very accurate. An employer does not want to hire someone who tests positive for drug use and put themselves in a situation where they must spend extra resources to deal with his or her problem. Also let's face it; if someone cannot refrain from drug use prior to a drug screening what does that really say about that individual? College Grad explains that signing the application document gives the employer the right to perform whatever tests are needed for employment. It is legal and I believe it is necessary for safe working conditions. References College Grad. (2012). Drug Testing and Other Possible Conditions of Employment. Retrieved from http://www.collegegrad.com/jobsearch/New-Job-Preparation/Drug-Testing-AndOther-Possible-Conditions-Of-Employment/


Week 4 DQ 2 In your state, is requiring drug testing for cause or at random legal? Yes it is legal as long as certain steps are followed. "The legal views for drug testing in Ohio define some jobs as mandatory for drug testing such as state construction contract workers, and also permits employers to choose jobs for which they would like to have drug tests carried out" (Test Country, 2012, para. 1). All tests must follow state law, and any employer who participates in the program must maintain mandatory reports and statistics of the employees. Below is a list of items essential for lawful drug screenings and random tests: 1.

Legal view: (as stated above)

2.

Policy: A written policy is essential for both direct employees and state contracted

employees. 3.

Timing of tests: All applicants must be informed of drug screenings before an

employment contract is signed. Random testing is legal and plausible cause testing is legal after observing behavior. 4.

Procedure of testing: Testing is mandated by state law. "If a certain test cannot be

carried out, alternatives are spelt out. Attention is paid to necessary procedures to maintain integrity of the tests and safety of employees. DOT procedures are required to be conducted" (Test Country, para. 4). References Test Country. (2012). 10 Things to Know About Workplace Drug Testing State Laws and Regulations in Ohio. Retrieved from http://www.testcountry.org/10-things-to-knowabout-workplace-drug-testing-state-laws-and-regulations-in-ohio.htm Week 5 DQ 1


How effective is mandated treatment? I have always thought that forcing someone to change his or her ways was an ineffective process for individuals. However, I have never had to undergo treatment of any kind so I cannot speak from experience. I believe it depends on the individual, their level of addiction, and the people that surround him or her. Frank Miller speaks of an experienced doctor in the treatment field. He speaks of Dr. Kathleen Brady's experiences from the South Carolina Medical University, "I have not had one patient that came in because he or she woke up out of the clear blue and said they were an addict-- almost everyone has their arm twisted behind their back by something; trouble at work, wife, kids, friends, etc." (HBO, 2012). I think the key is providing a stable and friendly treatment atmosphere. Staff should treat clients with respect and understand what he or she is going through. Staff should also be able to treat the client's individual needs" (Miller, 99). I think the key is understanding the individual's needs and treating them respect. We have all had to change things we were reluctant to sometime in our lives. Addicts usually do not know they have a problem until it is repeatedly pointed out to them. References HBO. (2012). Mandated Treatment. Retrieved from www.hbo.com/addiction/treatment/375_mandated_treatment.html Miller, F. (2009, Summer). Mandated Treatment for Substance Abuse: Recognizing Ethical Issues. Retrieved from http://www/sassi.com/docs/news_7_2.htm Week 5 DQ 2 Which treatment option do you think is most effective?


Before expanding on this question understanding the different treatment options is essential. 1.

Medications: Alternative

2.

Withdrawal

3.

Outpatient behavioral treatment

4.

Residential treatment

5.

Treatment in the criminal justice system I cannot say I believe any one treatment works best for all individuals. Each individual

has his or her own set of ethics, rules, beliefs, etc. Speaking from personal experience I believe treatment without any medication is essential. Whatever that treatment may be; AA, in or out patient, etc, I think medication only switches addiction to another desire. My friend, whom I have mentioned numerous times thus far went through numerous treatment programs and almost all of them offered methadone or some other heroin replacement. Methadone is a nasty drug in itself and it can kill as well. I believe the best type of treatment is cold-turkey. Go through the withdrawals, beat the physical addiction, and then treat the mental addiction. I have never been addicted to anything other than cigarettes. That was a very hard addiction to beat. I quit more times than I can count but ultimately I quit cold turkey. I always thought relying on some other replacement would eventually lead back to the real thing. I did not want any other associations with the habit other than what I had already created. I am not an expert on addiction but I have been around it my whole life so I am an versed by experience and association. The best advice I can give is do not give up on the people you love. Sometimes that is all it takes to keep someone from falling off the precipice.


References NIDA. (2009, September). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Retrieved from http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofacts/treatmeth.html

Psy 425 entire course discussion questions