substance abuse professional

It’s likely that anyone with a professional career has taken a drug test either before or during their employment.

However, what happens if you were to fail a drug test? How would you get back into normal working life after that failed test?

Substance abuse professionals are your answer. With their help, you can get your life under control again.

What IS a Substance Abuse Professional?

Substance abuse professionals, or SAPs, work with the DOT (Department of Transportation) to help employees fix their substance abuse issues before they return to work. 

While they usually work with those who have failed their work drug tests, substance abuse professionals can be called in for a variety of reasons. These include, but are not limited to:

SAPs are certified professionals that can work out a diagnosis and treatment for their patients. They help to maintain public safety by ensuring that employees are using safe work practices and keeping themselves under control while working. While they are not the same as a counselor and won’t act as a therapist, they will recommend certain treatments for their patients so that they can get the help they need. 

While they are usually found in fields related to transportation, SAPs work with anyone who has failed a drug test. Primarily, they help those who have failed tests in more dangerous fields where public safety is at risk, such as transportation, construction, and other jobs involving the use of heavy machinery.

As such, an SAP does not work directly for either the individual that has failed a drug test or their company; instead, they work to ensure public safety. 

What Do Substance Abuse Professionals Do?

SAPs hold face-to-face interactions with those who have failed work-related drug tests to help them get over their addictions. They are responsible for providing a diagnosis and treatment plan for their patients, as well as connecting them with resources to help them recover. This can include:

  • Having the individual attend AA meetings
  • Drug and alcohol education courses
  • Self-help groups, pamphlets, or programs
  • Rehabilitation resources
  • Community lectures and meetings
  • Help you find a counselor to work through your substance abuse further

Substance abuse professionals make it their goal to help you find a path forward and away from substances.

What Does Their Process Look Like?

If you’re curious about the process of a substance abuse professional, they use step-by-step methods to help their patients get back on their feet. After failing a drug test, their steps will go as follows.

  1. The employee is suspended from their job
  2. The employee is registered by DOT into the process and will consult a Medical Revue Officer for an evaluation
  3. A substance abuse professional will become involved
  4. The SAP assigned will give them a series of recommendations and programs to follow to get back on track
  5. The employee will follow through with the treatment plan
  6. The SAP will give the employee a final evaluation 
  7. The employee returns to work, and will likely undergo more drug tests and evaluations in the future to make sure the treatment stuck

After the SAP is finished with their personal recommendations, that does not mean the employee’s treatment is over. Further classes, courses, trials, and meetings will likely be scheduled to prevent potential relapse.

Should the employee fail the final evaluation, they may be forced to go through the process again or may be let go from their employment permanently. 

Life After a Failed Drug Test

In order to prevent the employee from failing a drug test again and relapsing into addiction, there are certain activities that they can do to keep themselves from abusing the same substances again. An SAP is likely to recommend one or more of them to keep the employee on track and healthy for the future.

Substance Abuse Counseling

While a substance abuse professional will not work with their patient long-term, they may have a substance abuse counselor take over. That way, the employee can have someone to talk to about their addictions and help continue to give them helpful advice moving forward. 

Counselors can also help in the case of a relapse and are great for long-term care. 

Community/Group Meetings

Sticking to any community activities and meetings recommended by an SAP is a great way to keep strong and away from substances. Sharing stories and experiences with those that have been in similar situations is beneficial for keeping strong. Whether it’s Alcoholics Anonymous or a group pertaining to a specific drug, there is a group available for anyone suffering from substance addiction and abuse.

Continued Education on Substance Abuse

Classes and other forms of education moving forward will help to keep someone from backtracking and ending up addicted again. An SAP may recommend further education after they’ve moved on past the SAP process. 

Follow-Up Drug Tests

The employee’s company will need to have follow-up drug tests on a semi-regular basis to make sure that their employee hasn’t fallen back into old habits. These tests will encourage the employee to stay away from their vices and continue in their healthy lifestyle. 

Get Your Employment Back On Track

With the help of a substance abuse professional, you can keep your career and your life moving forward. Their advice and recommendations will continue to help even after you’ve finished their process, which makes their treatments a great source of comfort. 

Are you curious about other ways to improve your lifestyle and keep yourself healthy? 

Be sure to continue reading our blog for more helpful information to keep yourself healthy!

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