The pandemic has led to sharp increases in alcohol and substance abuse in the U.S. and an increase in behavioral health disorders. More than 70% of individuals with alcohol or drug use continue to maintain employment. Over 22 million Americans are currently in recovery from alcohol and other drug use disorders. (Source: Working on addiction in the workplace, Harvard Health Blog [link: health.harvard.edu/blog/working-on-addiction-in-the-workplace-2017063011941]. Although addiction affects all demographic groups, drug and alcohol abuse among African American communities is higher than the general population and African Americans have poorer treatment outcomes. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 20.4% of adult African Americans reported illegal drug use in the past year. (Source: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics/african-americans) American Indian and Alaska Natives have some of the highest rates of substance abuse. Twenty-two percent abuse drugs, and 5% report heavy alcohol use. (Source: https://pro.psycom.net/special_reports/bipoc-mental-health-awareness-racism-in-psychiatry/race-and-addiction-treatment-outcomes)
Individuals in recovery are often unaware of their civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA ensures that people with disabilities, including those with alcohol use disorder and substance use disorders, have the same rights and opportunities in the workplace. This session will discuss how the ADA applies to addiction in three phases of employment: pre-offer, post-offer, and employment and use scenarios to apply the ADA as it relates to alcohol, opioids, cocaine, and marijuana.
- Understand the ADA’s definition of disability and how it applies to addiction and recovery.
- Recognize how the ADA applies to people with addiction to alcohol and those in recovery from opioids and other drugs.
- Discuss the questions and approaches that can be used during the three stages of employment (interview and application, post offer and pre-employment, and during employment).