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Development Account Projects

Drug abuse prevention in the workplace and the family in Southern Cone countries

Background:

The project follows a model developed by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, WHO and ILO. A similar project successfully adapted to the Brazilian culture was carried out in approximately 50 Brazilian enterprises and contributed to prevent the problem of drug and alcohol abuse amongst workers and their families by focusing on prevention, reducing illicit drugs consumption by 70 per cent, the number of smokers by 13 per cent, labour accidents by 35 per cent, absenteeism by 14 per cent and tardiness by 29 per cent.

Capitalizing on the success of that project, the Technical Cooperation Committee of the Common Market of the Southern Cone (MERCOSUR), supported by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, has approved the transfer of the project on drug abuse prevention in the workplace and the family to the other member countries of the Common Market.

Objective:

To establish primary, secondary and tertiary programmes of drug control at enterprises of the Southern Cone countries within the overall goal of psychoactive substance demand reduction

Expected accomplishments:

  • Reduced demand for psychoactive substances at the workplace in Southern Cone countries
  • Each of the Southern Cone countries will have one medium-sized enterprise (between 100 and 450 employees) equipped with the technology developed by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, ILO and WHO for the prevention of problems related to alcohol and drug abuse amongst workers and their families

Effects and Impact:

The project has resulted in a significant reduction in the use of tobacco and alcohol in the companies that implemented the prevention model. The project has also had an impact on other key aspects of the organization in the partner enterprises, as demonstrated by data gathered through surveys conducted during project implementation. For instance, in the Empresa Portuária Valparaíso, Chile, the merit of the project was an evident change in the organizational climate. In addition, there was a reduction in the use of tobacco and alcohol and performance indicators of the company, such as tardiness and absenteeism, were stabile. As a result of the project, there was a distinct change in the way employees confronted alcohol, drugs and other related problems. Taboos related to these subjects were removed, allowing for them to be effectively addressed.

Similar results were achieved in Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, as reductions in accidents, absences, tardiness, tobacco and alcohol and drug use were witnessed. The performance indicators in other companies also show significant improvement in the reduction of accidents and stability on other similar indicators. The project clearly generated positive results, particularly because of a measurable emerging awareness and recognition among employees concerning the importance of prevention.