First Responder Addiction Treatment

Returning to work – for officers, for anybody

Showing up for the job after "being out on leave" isn't easy. "What will the guys in the squad room think? Will anyone ever trust me again to be their backup, to tell the truth, to handle the heavy lifting? Can I look anyone in the eye when they know where I've been?" (The returned combat vet may ask variations on those questions, at home or on the job.)

For one thing, not everybody has to know – that's handled case-by-case. Confidentiality is a primary tenet of addiction treatment. True, getting back to work will raise some questions. FRAT offers guidance and, when appropriate, that crucial phone call to the department when the officer has completed the initial treatment, and is preparing to be a reliable member of the team again.

The role of the supervisor

Why would a supervisor want to help someone on the job who has a dependency? For one thing, it's the sensible, compassionate thing to do.

Beyond that, it makes good business sense. It can cost as much as $250,000 to recruit, train and deploy a rookie police officer or firefighter. What's the point in sacrificing that investment a department made in someone who showed all the qualities the job requires, because of a treatable disease?

By healing and educating that person, he or she can return to the work as a valued employee, with all their street smarts and experience intact. Helping the officer get back on their feet sets demonstrates that the department cares just as much about its people as its policies.

The FRAT staff doesn't just ask an employer to take its word that a patient is better and ready to come back. It works with the police/fire department, union or business HR office to ensure that all of its requirements are met, as well as those of the treatment staff.