February 19th, 2015, 11:39 AM
News & Releases

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say workplaces designed to help employees who are addicted to drugs can help them tackle their addiction. These "therapeutic workplaces" have been shown in studies to increase abstinence from drugs and maintain abstinence over long periods. These workplaces require frequent drug tests, and give employees unlimited second chances, Scientific American reports. Employees who stay off drugs are given cash bonuses. Those who test positive are sent home, but can return the next day. If they test negative, they can work full-time for an hourly wage until their next drug test. Researchers initially were concerned that giving employees cash bonuses would tempt them to buy more drugs. Instead, workers who received the bonuses in addition to hourly wages are abstinent for longer than those who simply receive an hourly wage. Some studies of therapeutic workplaces included workers addicted to cocaine, while others included those addicted to opioids who were receiving medication-assisted treatments such as methadone or naltrexone. The studies found about 80 percent of employees in therapeutic workplaces remained abstinent and refrained from other addictive behaviors, compared with half of those who worked without cash bonuses, the article notes. Last year the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy honored Dr. Kenneth Silverman, who heads therapeutic workplace research at Johns Hopkins. The concept has not widely spread throughout the addiction community. Most businesses are not able to use the model because of the intense monitoring required. Dr. Silverman is working with the group American Substance Abuse Professionals to increase use of the technique. By: Join Together Staff

Return to all News & Releases