Most Agency Programs for Employees with Alcohol-Related Problems Still Ineffective

HRD-77-75: Published: Sep 7, 1977. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 1977.

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In order to provide a comprehensive federal program for prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse, legislation was enacted and, in July 1971, guidelines were issued requiring agencies and departments to develop programs to help employees with alcohol-related problems.

Although officials interviewed differed in views of the extent of the problem of alcohol abuse, there was general agreement that it was significant. It was estimated that 6 percent of the federal civilian work force, or 120,000 employees, suffer from alcohol-related problems. Guidelines for programs were updated in June 1974 to include drug abuse problems and some programs included other employee problems that could affect work. Many problems were encountered which limited the effectiveness of the programs. Many management officials had negative attitudes towards this federal effort, believing that employees should be responsible for their own problems, or that too much money was being spent. Other problems in carrying out programs related to: the location of programs, selection and qualifications of coordinators, time and resources spent on programs, training of personnel, lack of cooperative efforts among agencies, and insufficient monitoring of programs. In general, Defense Department agencies conducted the most effective programs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Civil Service Commission should take the initiative in studies to define the extent of alcohol-related problems and develop more specific guidelines for training coordinators. Agency and department heads should: consider establishing broad-based employee assistance programs within the scope of services permitted by guidelines; take action to alleviate employee concerns about program location; actively support programs; improve selection, training, and resources for coordinators; and adequately inform concerned personnel about program operations.

    Agency Affected:


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