Just Five helps fight addiction in the workplace

NEW YORK—Shatterproof, a nonprofit organization setting out to solve the addiction crisis in the U.S., has launched an online program to make it easier than ever to educate employees.

Shatterproof offers all kinds of services for workplaces—ranging from fundraisers to ambassador programs—but its new endeavor, Just Five, gives workplaces an online tool to beat the addiction crisis and stigma.

“Shatterproof wanted to create an educational program centered on topics related to addiction and recovery that would work in a time-crunched work environment,” said Leslie Litsky, senior editor, education development, Shatterproof. “As we know, there is never enough time in a day; we are asking for ‘just five minutes’ over the course of a few months to educate employers and employees. The ask is small, but the potential return is exponential.”

The program is available exclusively online accessed via URL on a desktop or mobile device. While not required for education, the program also includes pre- and post-surveys.

“This program is different because it is turnkey for companies and simple to implement, there is minimal time commitment for employees, the education is easily accessible and it’s simple to digest,” Litsky said.

According to Litsky, as of now, the Just Five program is available for brands and companies, meant to be a company-wide resource offered by employers. However, it is not designed to be mandatory. Litsky recommends that if an employee is interested in the program, they should approach their employer.

“Just Five is, by design, a program made available but not enforced,” Litsky explained. “Rather than requiring individual login and passwords that can deter employees who may feel that they are self-identifying, Just Five is available to a company through a co-branded company/Shatterproof URL. Employees may spend as little or as much time on a lesson as they would like and are welcome to share the URL with family and friends.”

Just Five aims to combat addiction in the workplace.

The program includes six five-minute learning experiences that combine animated and expert videos, interactive lessons and supplemental materials.

During these self-paced experiences, users will learn the science of addiction; risk factors; the dangers of opioids; signs, symptoms and treatment; how they can help others; and information about recovery.

A recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report, “Substance Use and Substance Use Disorder by Industry,” shows a high prevalence of addiction among workers in the hospitality industry, Litsky said, and indicates that employees of restaurants and hotels have the highest rates of substance abuse out of the entire American workforce.

This can be attributed to long work hours, high stress, low pay, lack of labor laws, young workers and alcohol availability in the workplace, she added.

According to Shatterproof, the costs associated with addiction are as high as $160 billion.

“Just Five is a mutually beneficial program for owners, operators and employees. From a business perspective, the cost of substance use disorder to employers is significant, including the costs of health, accident and reduced productivity,” Litsky said.

Sign-up is simple, requiring the company to sign a Memorandum of Understanding; submit their logo to create a landing page for employees; create an internal promotional plan with marketing materials that are provided by Shatterproof; and agree to a rollout plan for the program.

“The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and Highmark Inc. have already begun implementing the Just Five program, and a number of other major companies have committed to joining as well,” Litsky said.

Education is vital when it comes to addiction—not only in prevention but to fight its stigma too—which Just Five also provides.

“The stigma that surrounds addiction greatly impacts where and how employees will seek help,” Litsky said. “The introduction of a ‘myth-busting’ program such as Just Five assures employees that their employer can be trusted as a partner when this disease is present in themselves, coworkers or families.”

Shatterproof offers other employee engagement opportunities like its Rise Up Against Addiction 5K series, which takes place in seven major cities around the country each fall. 

“Misinformation and stigma associated with substance use disorder is one of the leading causes of death in America,” Litsky said. “Through Just Five, we hope to help more people understand that addiction is a chronic disease just as any other, and people who are suffering deserve to seek and receive help. The first step to ending the addiction crisis in our country is through educating and supporting one another, which we hope to begin doing with Just Five.” HB

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