The top story on today’s 6:00 local news was a story about a man who has been arrested for heroin possession. I knew about this, as it was also the top local story at 5:00. I bet it will also carry the 11:00 news, as well as the 6am news tomorrow.
Why all the buzz about a guy getting busted for a few bags, you ask?
Well, it turns out that he is a long-time employee for the city where he was arrested, and he works in the Human Resources Department.
This gentleman has a huge problem, besides a probable addiction to heroin.
EAP to the rescue? Perhaps. The Employee Assistance Program is designed to allow an employee to seek help before he or she is discovered by the company. Usually, the company acts if there are “signs” such as sudden excessive absences, an unusual drop in production, or when the employee requests the help. The company, in this case the city, may offer EAP assistance, but there is no assurance that will happen. This man may have forfeited his EAP rights. EAP is not a “get out of jail free” card.
The city will probably also consider the possible precedent-setting nature of offering EAP to someone who has been arrested, and perhaps found guilty. His position in Human Resources should be a consideration, as this charge could compromise his ability to act with authority and integrity towards other employees.
This man is in an icky situation, as he stands to lose a $61,000/year position, plus his pension and all the other perks of working for a municipality for nine years. On top of that, his story has been locally publicized. I am not sure if he has a family, or if he has relatives in the area. This is a sad situation for him and his family.
A drug addict or an alcoholic will use regardless of consequence. The ability to rationalize has been removed. This is a phenomenon of addiction… any addiction.
I cannot believe that someone did not know of this man’s behavior… perhaps a relative, a friend, or a co-worker. Someone knew. Addicts can be sneaky, but we are not all that sneaky. Addicts can be intimidating, controlling and violent, so many times friends and family would fear exposing the addict. This is where and EAP can really shine, if management is duly trained on EAP procedures and if they can see the signs.
Early intervention, followed by a substantial program may have helped this man. Employee Assistance Program participation would have preserved his job, perhaps, even if in a different department.
A Sober Coach or Sober Companion can help. We are capable of helping to affect a change when a change is needed and wanted. Employing a coach allows continuation of life activities, in many cases, usually after any necessary detox and treatment. Sober Coaches, if employed early, can be a great help in quietly researching treatment options for our clients, and can help our clients apply their new sobriety in their lives.