Supervisor training needed to curb employee substance abuse

Supervisors should be trained to deal with employee substance use and intoxication, according to research from the University of Buffalo, released yesterday. "Contact with a supervisor, no matter how often, is not a strong enough deterrent for some employees," Michael Frone, senior research scientist at U of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions and research associate professor of psychology, said in a research announcement. Although the study didn't look at the healthcare industry specifically, the research offered insight into employee behavior. Workers drank less on the job when they thought their supervisors could detect substance-use problems and were willing to take corrective action, although supervisor enforcement had no effect on employees' alcohol use and intoxication when they were off the clock. Supervisor enforcement did, however, curb illicit drug use both on and off the job.

As Dean White, a Texas-based consultant and former chief of the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB Hospital in Dallas, said at last week's American College of Healthcare Executives' annual congress, the medical staff isn't immune to the same conditions that affect the general public. Study announcement