Recovery Friendly Workplace

Employees can sometimes experience personal problems that can impact not only their home life, but their work life as well. Alcohol and drug use among employees and their family members can be costly to an agency by way of absenteeism, decreased productivity, theft, low employee morale, injuries, increased health care, legal liabilities and workers' compensation costs. Many individuals and families face a host of difficulties closely associated with problem drinking and drug use, as well as other personal problems or issues. These problems quite often spill over into the workplace. The workplace, however, can be a space to effectively address alcohol and other drug related issues in an atmosphere that promotes health and wellness. Employers can connect employees to programs that focus on improving health. By encouraging and supporting treatment, employers can dramatically assist in reducing the negative impact of alcohol and addiction in the workplace, while also reducing their costs.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes that an employee may experience situations that affect his or her capacity to perform well on the job. These experiences, while personal in nature, can manifest in the workplace as issues that affect performance, attendance or conduct. DHHS is a workplace that supports, fosters, and empowers employees who are struggling with and seeking recovery from addiction-related issues. The Department views addiction as treatable and therefore we welcome, embrace, and support recovery efforts with compassion in an effort to help employees and their families live healthy, full, and productive lives. There are many paths to recovery. People will choose their pathway based on their cultural values, their socioeconomic status, their psychological and behavioral needs, and the nature of their substance use disorder. The Recovery Friendly Workplace Program has been created to promote and carry the message that the Department is committed to and cares about the whole health of the individual person.

    A Recovery Friendly Approach

    Work is an important part of our life. Employment provides us with an income and much needed benefits such as health insurance and retirement. Work also lends meaning to our daily life and in some ways defines “who” we are. Of course, our job is not our whole life, but we do spend much of our time at work, and it impacts some of our free time as well.

    But no matter how dedicated you are to your work and regardless of the meaning your work provides in your life, there are times when personal problems or issues in life can get in the way of doing your job. That issue can be a substance use problem or a problem with feeling “blue” (i.e. depression) or trouble with an underage (or adult) child. In addition, issues and troubles in our life sometimes have to do with a loved one such as a spouse, partner, child, or even your parent.

    Personal and/or family issues can distract even the most motivated employee at work. That distraction can take the form of

    • Missed work – frequent absenteeism or consistent tardiness
    • Loss of concentration at work resulting in less quality work accomplished or even a safety hazard
    • Diminished passion for work and the mission of the organization or work unit
    • Increased work related stress and anxiety
    • Conflict at work with supervisors and/or fellow employees
    • Increased accidents at work
    • An overall decrease in life satisfaction resulting in unhappiness and dissatisfaction at work

    It is a myth that employees experiencing personal problems are “trouble” or are “bad” employees. The vast majority of people in the workforce want to do well and want to contribute but personal issues and problems can sometimes interfere with that goal. It’s not only a practical matter for an employer to want to help someone who is struggling at work due to a personal problem, but also the right thing to do. Years ago a number of large companies were asked why they invested in programs to identify, help, and retain troubled employees. Even though all of those companies recognized the financial and practical benefit of offering a helping hand to an employee who is struggling, the number one top reason to help employees, according to these companies was, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

    The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the Division, in which you work, wants to support all of our employees who may be experiencing a difficult stretch in their life. We want people that are struggling to get the help and support that they want and need. We are “Recovery Friendly.”

      Creating a Recovery Friendly Workplace

      • Welcome all qualified job applicants - diversity is valued;
      • Include healthcare benefits that treat mental illness and addiction with the same urgency as physical illnesses;
      • Have programs and/or practices that promote and support employee health – wellness and/or work-life balance;
      • Provide training for managers and supervisors in the signs and symptoms of addiction and mental health including identification of performance problems that may indicate worker distress and possible need for referral and evaluation;
      • Safeguard the confidentiality of employee health information;
      • Support employees who seek treatment who require hospitalization and disability leave, including planning for return to work;
      • Ensure “exit with dignity” as a priority should it become essential for an employee to leave his or her employment;
      • Provide employees with information regarding the Employee Assistance Program (EAP); equal opportunity employment, the reasonable accommodations policy of the Americans with Disabilities Act, health and wellness programs, and similar topics that promote an accepting, anti-stigmatizing, anti-discriminating climate in the workplace.

      State of Nevada Employee Assistance Program

      Employees, families and supervisors faced with a personal issue or problem that you’d like help with, can call the State of Nevada Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at:

      • 1-888-972-4732 (TDD: 1-800-697-0353); or
        • You can create an account on-line using the Web ID of STATENV.

      If you know someone who you think is having a rough time, you can suggest that person contact the EAP. If you are a supervisor, you can suggest the EAP, as well.

      The EAP is served by a group called Guidance Resources and is confidential. In addition, services are at no charge to the employee or their dependents.

        Additional Resources

        Guide to Finding Quality Addiction Treatment: It can be overwhelming and confusing to know where to start if you need to find treatment for a substance problem or addiction. Finding the right treatment is not a quick or easy process. This comprehensive step-by-step guide was designed by a team of addiction experts at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. It was created to help you navigate the vast amount of information—and misinformation—about finding substance use treatment and the questions that may arise along your journey.

        Additionally, this guide provides a simple self-screen along with information on assessing whether an individual needs treatment. The guide also provides information on identifying the kind of treatment a person may need, what treatment setting is right for a potential patient, what kind of provider to look for, how to find a treatment provider, what to look for in a program, and what happens after treatment. A list of specific questions to ask a treatment provider is offered at the end of the guide.

        Two self-screening tools have been included in this resource as an aide to determine if you, or a family member may need to be assessed for an alcohol and/or substance use problem. Please note that the following are only tools, the findings are in no way official and it is highly recommended that you speak to a professional for a formal assessment if the screen indicates a potential for an emotional, cognitive or behavioral problem.

          Alcohol Drinking Screening: The 18-question CYD survey is anonymous and has been designed to help you, your loved ones or your health care professional answer some questions about drinking. When you have finished the test you can print your Final Report or email your Final Report directly to yourself or your health care professional.

          Drug Screening Link: Do you use drugs or drink alcohol? Are these substances harming your health or increasing your risk for other problems? This website can help you find out. Start by answering a few short questions about your past and present use of various drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, tobacco, inhalants or alcohol. You'll get feedback about the likely risks of your drug use, and advice about when and where to seek more information, evaluation, and help. Your responses are completely confidential and anonymous.

          Local Providers: The following link provides a comprehensive list of funded and private providers statewide. Access to these services ranges from Medicaid reimbursement, sliding fee scale and private insurance based on the programs funding streams. Please check eligibility for services by contacting the individual service providers.

          Resources related to Mental Health, Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders and Treatment: SAMHSA has a multitude of information and resources related to, but not limited to, Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs, Behavioral Health Treatment and Services, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, Prevention of Drug Misuse and Abuse, Recovery Support, Suicide Prevention, Wellness and workforce issues. Information on the SAMHSA webpage will help with identifying methods to understand the sign and symptoms of a substance and/or mental health issues and also effectively seek treatment.


          Family members play an integral part in the recovery process. When a family member experiences a mental and/or substance use disorder, the effects are felt by their immediate and extended family members. Family members benefit from knowing they are not alone. The document below, titled "Families in Recovery," provides a multitude of resources for family members to access; the sub-bullets below provide some of those resources.

          Last Updated: 7/3/2017