In English

• 19.05.2016

Freedom from addictions

We are tormented by intoxicating substances and other temptations. Many people are caught in a trap where addiction to a stimulant or for example a game or the Internet starts to control life. But alcohol still causes the most damage. Its negative effects are familiar to all of us.

Luncheons and evening meetings where alcohol is served abundantly are in the past, thank goodness. Nowadays it’s more important to concentrate on each employee’s addictive behaviour outside of work, as well as on supporting a healthy life-style.

In May 2015 a recommendation was presented for preventing the abuse of intoxicating substances, and dealing with alcohol and drug problems at work, as well as guiding persons who need help with their addictions to treatment. The recommendation has the support of all central labour market organizations. It emphasizes the importance of cooperation between all parties at the workplace and with the occupational health services.

A survey carried out recently by the A-Clinic Foundation shows that many workplaces already have a programme for preventing and dealing with substance abuse.  However, supervisors and employees’ trustees often are not familiar with the programme at their own workplace. Does this mean that the programme for controlling substance abuse does not cover the entire organization systematically? An indication of the frailty of efforts to prevent substance abuse is the fact that it was not easy to find examples of preventive actions at enterprises, and this is exceptional in the history of this journal.

In addition to preventing the negative effects of substance abuse, it is important to recognize also other types of addiction. Someone may become a ‘workaholic’ from work that is fascinating and captivating.

So let’s draw up rules of the game for the workplace to prevent addictive behaviour, and let’s join forces and follow them. In order to succeed, the groundwork has to be in order. And that is built by systematic development and improvement of the employees’ well-being and safety culture at work.

Rauno Hanhela

Editor-in-Chief

rauno.hanhela@ttk.fi

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