Development of Training and Education Materials, SAMHSA

Creating a kit for employers to develop drug-free workplace programs.

Cygnus created a kit of materials to assist the business community, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses, with developing and implementing drug-free workplace programs, for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The kit, entitled Making Your Workplace Drug-Free: A Kit for Employers, won 1st place for publications in the 13th Annual Markie Awards. Markies are awarded for excellence in alcoholism and addiction communications and marketing. 

The kit imparted research findings about the effects of alcohol and drug abuse as well as information on preventing and managing alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse in the workplace. The materials addressed many issues, including educating employees about substance abuse, helping family and friends who suffer an addiction, and providing advice for parents concerned about their children. 

Cygnus was selected to develop the kit as part of an intense project that involved market research, translation of the research on drug-free workplaces and substance abuse for use by employers, publications development and production, development of a dissemination plan, and field tests. The project was completed under particularly narrow time constraints. 

The work included some of the following critical capabilities:

  • Market and literature research;
  • Focus groups;
  • Substantive editing, copyediting, proofreading, and promotional writing; and
  • High-end graphic design.

Services under this contract included:

Market Research. Cygnus convened 2 forums of business leaders to gather views on the best methods to provide information to employees in the workplace. We also identified a representative sample of the Nation’s employers and employees in 4 geographically diverse cities for a series of 8 focus groups, to identify information needs pertaining to drug abuse, materials that would be useful, and significant channels through which employers and employees obtain health-related information. In the final phase of market research, the staff gathered information from publishers of workplace materials and from government agencies that had conducted worksite initiatives.

Writing, Editing, Design, and Production. Based on market research, the staff wrote and edited a set of materials for use by managers, owners, supervisors, and employees. The kit included 11 employer factsheets with comprehensive information about the various aspects of drug-free workplace programs, 7 employee factsheets, a supervisor’s guide, 2 posters, and 1 decal. Cygnus was chosen to produce this kit because of our repeated success in designing and creating materials that can compete in the marketplace for attention and effectiveness. This was critical in meeting the government’s desire that the kit compete with commercially produced materials to attract the attention of business owners and serve as an impetus for encouraging drug-free workplace policies.

Information Dissemination. Cygnus developed a comprehensive dissemination plan through intermediaries and other direct channels for reaching small- and medium-sized business owners. In addition, we developed advertisements, press releases, and other promotional materials. The distribution plan was so successful that the initial press run of 40,000 copies was quickly depleted and another 90,000 copies were printed. 

To help reach the target audience, Cygnus conducted a literature survey, held meetings with business leaders and experts in drug-free workplace issues, and ran focus groups in 4 geographically diverse cities. We also field tested the results once the text and graphics were developed vis-à-vis what was learned in the market research.

Subscribe to our newsletter: