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      CIRA Chapter Dinner - Identifying and Understanding Problem Substance Abuse in Saskatoon

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      September 24, 2019

      Tuesday   5:00 PM

      35 22nd Street East
      Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 0C8

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      CIRA Chapter Dinner - Identifying and Understanding Problem Substance Abuse

      Dr. Charl Els, MD., Addiction Psychiatrist, MRO, Expert Witness, Clinical Professor, Author The administration of an effective drug and alcohol policy is only possible if managers are well versed in the most recent evidence from medical addiction specialists. This knowledge is equally important for union representatives. Although drug and alcohol abuse has long been a concern for workplace safety, the legalization of recreational cannabis has increased the need to distinguish between acceptable substance abuse and a substance use disorder which may trigger the duty to accommodate. In this interview, a leading addiction specialist will explain the difference, provide tips for investigating, and discuss the nature of an addiction. From a medical perspective, the culpability of employee misconduct related to an addiction will be explained. Specific topics to be discussed include: Define substance use disorder and explain how it is different from recreational drug or alcohol use. Is substance abuse always problematic? Is it always experienced as a chronic and progressive disorder? Are relapses part of a substance use disorder? Are employees with a substance use disorder unable to stop themselves from substance pilfering to support their addiction? Is this workplace misconduct non-culpable? Is denial an expected and inherent aspect of a substance use disorder? Should an employee who is not forthcoming or candid about their addiction be held responsible and disciplined? Is cannabis addictive? How long after consumption is an employee impaired? What medical evidence supports workplace policies that prohibit cannabis consumption for extended periods (12 to 30 days before a work shift)? Explain the job performance and workplace behaviours that are common signs of problematic substance abuse. What are effective methods for observing and documenting problematic signs? What are some best practices for dealing with an employee with a substance use disorder? Biography: Dr. Charl Els is one of Canada’s leading addiction specialist. Trained as a medical doctor and psychiatrist, he is a medical review officer, as well as a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. He frequently serves as an expert medical witness in arbitration hearings concerning impairment and addiction, most notably he provided testimony in the decision reviewed by the Supreme Court of Canada, Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp. He has authored several authoritative reviews of the existing medical evidence linking substance abuse and workplace behaviours. He completed medical and psychiatry training in South Africa followed by two fellowships at the University of Toronto. He co-chairs the Occupational and Environmental Medical Association of Canada’s Guideline Committee, and served on the University of Alberta's Health Research Ethics Board. Aside from his clinical practice, Dr. Els is involved in training residents and medical students in the fields of occupational psychiatry and addiction medicine. He also conducts research, has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and regularly conducts assessments on employees in safety-sensitive and decision-critical positions.

      Categories: Business & Networking

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