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.

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