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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Drug Free Workplace PA Offers Free Support

Jun 02, 2015 10:55PM ● By Rebecca Hanlon

The pain of drug addiction goes beyond the person that uses. It can affect spouses, parents, children and even employers. But it can also be difficult for many people to know how to help someone with a drug or alcohol addiction. That’s where Drug Free Workplace PA comes in to help. The Harrisburg-based organization offers a three-pronged approach to give employers and families the resources needed to help those struggling with addiction.

The program was launched at the beginning of the year as Pennsylvania officials realized something had to be done to combat a growing heroin epidemic, says Jean Leisher, a case manager with Drug Free Workplace PA. While 37 employer clients currently use the services provided by the organization, Drug Free Workplace PA hopes to reach the entire state by the end of the year, notes Leisher. “A lot of people think that addiction is an individual’s personal problem,” she says. “Many people don’t realize that if your employee has an addiction, then it’s a company problem. If a family member has an addiction, it’s a family problem.”

With a reported one in four families affected by substance abuse in the nation, Leisher understands that combating the issue is an ongoing battle, but there is hope and support for those that want to provide assistance. While Drug Free Workplace PA doesn’t directly offer support groups or recovery programs, it does connect people with available resources. Business leaders can go online and watch free training videos that discuss policy-building and training for supervisors and employees. Individual modules also address the correlation of mental health struggles such as depression or stress with substance abuse. Representatives from the organization also are available to do live training.

Families have the opportunity to take part in training sessions that cover addiction and how it affects everyone. In many cases, says Leisher, people don’t realize that because they are worried about a loved one’s addiction or that a child’s grades can slip, their own personal health can decline as well.

While many employers don’t go looking for ways to address drugs and the workplace, they are intrigued when the idea is presented to them. “Employers don’t realize they can be a big influence when it comes to preventing drug abuse,” says Leisher. “Having programs in place means an employer can combat drug abuse before it becomes a larger issue.”

Open discussions about drug and alcohol abuse can even help erase the stigma that comes with these dangerous practices. Leisher advises that talking about drug abuse and trying to understand someone’s addiction is just one step in a long process of healing.

 For more information, call 717-454- 3100 or visit

Rebecca Hanlon is a freelance journalist living in York County. Contact her at

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