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ANTI-DRUG ABUSE CAMPAIGN IN WORKPLACES DURING PANDEMIC

Alternative work schemes enforced by some companies under the new normal affect a worker’s state of mind. Psychologists say thateven short periods of isolation can have negative consequences on physical and mental well-being.

Isolation can lead to anxiety and anger, sleep disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders. These may push people toward a deviant behavior linked to licit or illicit substance use like alcohol and illegal drugs. These circumstances may have been an opportunity for drug pushers to attract new customers.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has been the partner agency of the Department of Labor and Employment in its campaign to achieve a drug-free workplace. This convergence between DOLE and PDEA is to conduct intensive preventive education, information dissemination and capability enhancement for front liners and those whose duty is to secure hotels, bars, restaurants, subdivisions and condominiums as these establishments are susceptible to exploitation by drug syndicates.

The DOLE continues to monitor establishments for their compliance to DOLE Department Order 53-03 or the guidelines for implementation of a drug-free workplace policies and programs for the private sector.

DO 53-03 calls for random drug testing of employees in all establishments in the private sector, including their contractors and concessionaires.

Workplace policies and programs on drug abuse prevention and control adopted by companies must include advocacy, education and training; drug testing program for officers and employees; treatment, rehabilitation and referral; and monitoring and evaluation.

Employers must also conduct a random drug test on their employees and officials, and its schedule must be unannounced, with each employee having an equal chance of being selected for test.

Random drug test in the workplace is legal. The goal is to discourage drug use by not telling anyone in advance when and who will be tested. One does not have to worry if he/she does not use drugs.

An employee found to be using drugs will undergo treatment and rehabilitation. The period during which the employee is under treatment or rehabilitation shall be considered as authorized leaves. However, repeated drug use, even after being given the opportunity for treatment and rehabilitation, shall be dealt with the corresponding penalties under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165) and is a ground for dismissal.

Violations of DO 53-03 may be punished criminally under Article II of RA 9165 and its implementing rules and regulations, or administratively under Article 297 of the Labor Code.

For more information on workplace policies and programs on drug abuse prevention and control, visit www.dole.gov.ph www.oshc.dole.gov.ph and www.pdea.gov.ph and www.pdeacar.gov.ph.

END/Patrick Rillorta

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2020-10-09
Dir.Exequiel Guzman
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