Drug-Free Workplace Helpline, SAMHSA

Helping business and community organizations develop drug-free workplace programs. 

The toll-free Drug-Free Workplace Helpline provided information and confidential technical assistance to business, industry, unions, and community organizations on developing and implementing comprehensive drug-free workplace programs.

Cygnus operated the Helpline for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which averaged 1,000 calls/month and oversaw the storage and dissemination of information materials, as well as data collection and analysis for 10 years. The Helpline provided individualized telephone consultation, which included resource referrals, networking services, and publications to assist in planning, policy development, and program implementation. Calls were received primarily from managers, directors, and owners of companies with 500 or fewer employees and Helpline information specialists were trained to give specific information tailored to each organization’s unique characteristics including information on the following topics:

  • Assessing the nature and extent of drug abuse in an organization;
  • Developing and implementing a drug abuse policy;
  • Choosing an employee assistance program (EAP) model that is compatible with individual organizations, including organizational benefits programs;
  • Implementing employee education and supervisor training;
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of a drug abuse program in terms of cost and human factors;
  • Understanding the technical, legal, and employee relations aspects of drug testing; and
  • Identifying signs and symptoms of drug abuse.

Although callers faced diverse situations and had distinct questions, the issues most frequently raised related to drug testing, EAPs, policy development, and overall workplace drug abuse. Often a caller requested information about only one topic, such as drug testing, however Helpline staff focused on the broader context in addition to the caller’s request, discussing other critical components of a drug abuse program such as supervisor training, employee education, EAPs, and corporate policy to provide the caller with increased knowledge about drug-free workplace programs. The Helpline maintained a library of federally-approved resources that could be sent to callers as a follow-up to the telephone consultation. The Helpline maintained an adequate supply of these publications, and Helpline staff reviewed relevant resources to identify and recommend new materials for Helpline use.

The Helpline upheld very high standards of expertise in the various areas of a drug-free workplace and Cygnus compiled an extensive library of resources for education and training of staff. The Helpline received presentations by many experts in the field of substance abuse education and prevention as well as drug-free workplace issues and maintained cooperative relationships with several federal, state, and local agencies and organizations. In addition, Helpline staff attended conferences and seminars focused on the issues of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace and used the Helpline data to produce reports for agencies and organizations such as the CSAP and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, as well as Drug-Free Workplace Partnerships across the country. 

Some of the professional services provided by Cygnus include the following:

  • Development of drug-free policies for employers;
  • Drug abuse and drug testing issues;
  • Health information management, processing, and retrieval;
  • Information response and referral;
  • Technology for disseminating information, including information hotlines and full-text imaging technology and electronic networks; and
  • Database design, implementation, and maintenance.

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