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Drug-and-Alcohol-Prevention

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[MUSIC PLAYING] The maritime industry can provide an exciting and rewarding profession, but it is not without many challenges. Long work hours and extended separation from loved ones may leave the mariner to coping mechanisms such as alcohol and drug use. The maritime industry, just by its nature-- because it's an industry where people are naturally isolated, working away from their friends and family in a sometimes stressful environment-- that people are more prone to abuse drugs and alcohol. Others may become involved in illegal smuggling activities and underground trade worth billions of dollars yearly. The consequences of drug and alcohol abuse on merchant vessels can include termination of job, suspension or loss of Coast Guard documents and credentials, accidents which can lead to injury and/or loss of life, hefty civil and/or criminal liabilities for the offending party, ship's officers, operators, and owners. And last but not least, drug and alcohol abuse may lead to chronic medical and health problems, as well as addiction. [MUSIC PLAYING] The goal of this program is to educate seafarers in four important steps-- prevention of drug and alcohol-related issues on-board vessels, awareness of certain warning signs to watch for, the best response, including proper testing and reporting procedures, as well as treatment options should you or another crew member be abusing drugs or alcohol. [MUSIC PLAYING] The most critical step in stopping drug or alcohol abuse aboard is prevention. You and your crew must do all you can to prevent this from becoming a problem. Prevention can be broken down into three basic steps-- testing, security procedures, and personal responsibility. Your ship and company will have a number of drug and alcohol testing procedures in place. The code of federal regulations title 46, part 16 governs the five conditions under which a drug or alcohol test will be administered. First is pre-employment screening. According to United States law, no marine employer may employ any seafarer who does not pass a drug test at a certified laboratory. This test may be waived with proof of a drug test within the past six months or if the individual has been involved in a random testing program. Seafarers also may be subject to periodic testing whenever they receive a new credential or endorsement, or during their physical examination. Any seafarer may be subject to random screenings, which are often company policy. Following a serious maritime incident, the marina employer must ensure that all persons directly involved in the incident are tested for drugs and alcohol. A series marine incident could be anything from a grounding, personal injury, death of an individual. There are dollar values for the amount of damage that would have to occur for it to be considered a serious marine incident. And finally, if there is reasonable cause to suspect any mariner of abusing drugs and/or alcohol, it is within the employer's rights to ask that mariner to submit to a drug and/or alcohol screening. And with reasonable suspicion-- one of the things that it's not just a single individual, but typically it's going to be two or more people that may have a concern or seen actions or something that can be articulated in describing a concern that they have. Each company's policies will be slightly different. But in all cases, they will set limits on alcohol use, and they will have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs. US law requires employers to keep detailed records and to submit these records to the United States Coast Guard upon request. Drug and alcohol programs require that employees notify their employer or immediate supervisor that they are taking prescription drugs. In addition, employees should be aware that some over-the-counter drugs can also have strong side effects and can be a safety concern. Security precautions can also be a tool to prevent the transmission or smuggling of illegal drugs aboard. Access to the ship should be carefully controlled. A watch should be kept at all times, and all persons coming or going should be logged and required to show ID. Search any and all bags brought on board by any person, as well as cargo, stores, or supplies. Lock all safety-sensitive areas while in port. This may include the bridge, engine room, and areas not in use during the stay. Search your vessel before leaving port. Look for any signs of tampering or alteration, or areas where items could be concealed. Every seaman has a personal responsibility to themselves, to their crew, and to the safe operation of their ship. This includes knowing your limits. Alcohol is legal in safe amounts at appropriate times, but mariners should never drink while on duty or while on call. No alcohol within four hours so you watch. And the US Coast Guard's tolerance level is 0.04% blood alcohol content. But internationally, STCW 2010 has just come up and made into law that it's 0.05%. US Coast Guard has a lower tolerance for alcohol, so therefore on a US-flag vessel, our laws prevail. It is your responsibility to your crew, if you believe you have a problem, to seek help before it becomes worse or causes further harm. The work environment is always an issue around substance use. And I think when you have a closed system like that, it is even more difficult. It creates a number of issues. One is, do they bring others, along with them who end up using? Or does it create friction in the crew? Do we report him? If we report him, we know it's going to have a negative impact on him and his career potentially. But we also know if we don't do something about it, there may be some real negative impacts, both on him as well as potentially us. Come on. You're late for watch. If you suspect another crew member is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is your responsibility to report it in confidentiality to one of the ship's officers. Come on. [MUSIC PLAYING] So, how do you know if there's a problem on-board if you aren't involved firsthand? To start, you need to understand how to spot the warning signs and be aware of the potential hazards. The most common substance abuse problems I've encountered on-board ships are alcohol by far. With alcohol use, their coordination is off. Their judgement is off, damaging to the liver and essentially every organ in the body. Alcohol is essentially pickling a person from the inside out. So through time and depending on how much substance that person uses, it's only a matter of time before they start noticing shaking, or withdrawal symptomology, or craving, or a change in tolerance with their alcohol use. The fallout from being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and being in a responsible position working on a ship, can be a navigational error resulting in an accident, damage to the environment, injury to personnel. Marijuana may be legal in some states, but it is still the most common illegal drugs in the eyes of the federal government. That marijuana impacts somebody's coordination, and also judgment and perception, is a big one. So if you're trying to kind of gauge how far or how close something is, your perception is off. The idea of time, it either goes by really quickly or very slowly for somebody who's under the influence of marijuana. Your overall judgement and coordination of perception is definitely impacted, as well short-term memory. The US Coast Guard has zero tolerance towards drugs in your system while you're working. And you have to remember the drugs can be present in your system even after you've taken them, for a number of days or weeks depending on drugs. The Department of Transportation still has said that despite any state regulations, the federal regulations are zero-tolerance. Stimulants, including cocaine, crack, and methamphetamines, create a rush of excitement and energy that can severely affect a user's mental function and ability to perform tasks. A lot of times too in the industry, I think what happens is because the hours are so long, people who have to work-- folks will gravitate towards, say, cocaine or methamphetamines that are going to keep you up longer. And you're not going to want to eat, and so you're not going to get nourishment, but you're slipping, falling on the deck. This rush is followed by an inevitable crash in the user, accompanied by severe exhaustion, depression, and anxiety. Mixing work on a moving vessel with stimulant use could prove catastrophic. Opiates, narcotics, and sedatives cause lapses in motor skills and concentration, as well as an inability for users to function at full steam, or at all. When somebody's under the influence of an opiate, it's very similar to someone who's drunk. So the slurred speech, the slow and poor motor coordination-- those are other things that we see. I think for a lot of people in this day and age, start as a prescription-- know legitimate use. And some of them are so addicting, they quickly carry over to where you're going to start doctor shopping, getting more prescriptions. Our younger population quickly gets to a place where they run out of doctors or money to be able to get pills that way. And so they go to heroin, which is a much cheaper high. It is your responsibility to know the side effects of any prescription medication you are taking and to notify personnel during a pre-employment medical screening. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action. Packages can be hidden in numerous areas-- on-board, attached to the hull, or smuggled in with cargo, stores, or other supplies. Sometimes, a crew member is complicit in smuggling activity, but not always. Often, packages are hidden to be collected later. Some ports present a greater risk of smuggling activity. But smuggling can occur anywhere, and seafarers should take steps to ensure the best security practices possible. [MUSIC PLAYING] It is estimated that 10% to 30% of shipboard accidents are related to substance abuse. Despite our best efforts for prevention and awareness, accidents will happen. Some may unfortunately be the result of a crew member impaired by drugs or alcohol. If there was an accident on board a vessel, a serious marine incident-- people that are either the victim of an accident or injury, or involved in it, or operating equipment-- they could be tested. Testing for drugs within 32 hours and testing for alcohol within two hours of the incident. And even if you weren't in a US port where the Coast Guard would be there, if you're out at sea, the testing could still be done. And that would be done with by personnel on board that are trained to do that with the equipment that they carry. The personnel on board a ship or vessel that can do a test, it's normally the captain or another officer is certified. And you have to go to a class that is usually certified by Department to Transportation. It is very important to follow predetermined procedures for any of the approved drug and alcohol tests. These include the identified testing location meets Coast Guard guidelines, the person being tested is properly identified, all testing equipment is Coast Guard approved, testing instructions are strictly followed. Because the repercussions of a positive test can be very serious, it is critical that any test be conducted in accordance with Department of Transportation regulations. If you were found to have drugs in your system or test positive for alcohol, they want to come and they'll find and try and make sure that you're not sailing. You're putting the lives of your crew and everyone else in jeopardy when you're doing that. Depending on the severity of the situation, you're going to probably lose any merchant mariner credential you have that's issued by the US Coast Guard. You'll lose it for probably at least a year, and it could be longer, depending on the severity. And then the follow-up to that is that you're going to have to go through a series of tests and treatment and proving that you are not going to be a risk to be able to hold a credential so that when you're out sailing, they know that you're going to be safe and drug-free. A breathalyzer or saliva alcohol swabs will be used to test an individual's blood alcohol level. Breathalyzer tests should be conducted at least 20 minutes after eating or drinking. Alcohol testing swabs should be used at least 10 minutes after eating or drinking. Actively swap all areas of the mouth for 30 to 60 seconds until saturated. Then insert the swab into the filter for two minutes to obtain results. Proper reporting procedure is equally important in the event of any smuggling activity detected on board. If a suspicious package is found, report it to shore-side authorities immediately. Do not tamper with anything suspicious you may find, and keep careful log entries reporting your search procedures and your findings. All of this will go a long way towards keeping you and your ship out of criminal liability if involved in a smuggling incident. [MUSIC PLAYING] Treatment can look like a few different things. The lowest level of treatment is a drug education and intervention program. Usually, if somebody has an on-the-job accident, they usually bypass the education portion and look into something like intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment. So every treatment seems a little bit different, but essentially, it's a three-day-a-week for intensive outpatient treatment, with toxicology screens every week, and then step down being outpatient treatment one day a week. There's also things like inpatient treatment, where somebody can go away from anywhere to 30 to 90 days. Many programs exist that combine medical knowledge with the psychological support necessary to overcome the destructive cycle of addiction. A required element of any drug testing program is an employee assistance program. This is a process that helps employees address substance abuse, psychological, family, or personal issues confidentially. Many times, a drug or alcohol problem is related to these other issues. Addiction has often been described as well as a relapsing phenomenon, that it's one that has a high probability and rate of relapse. If you look at the things that contribute most often to relapse, they are sort of the high-risk situations that people found themselves in previously. Unless they have learned how to cope adequately with those and to resist the risks inherent in those situations, the chances of relapse are pretty high. If you or a member of your crew suffers from addiction, it is important to notify your employer and get help today. Once notified, many employers will help their employees find proper treatment in full confidentiality. If you're doing drugs or alcohol, you put yourself at risk. You're putting the lives of the crew members, passengers at risk. And we're also dealing with marine environment. That's what you're really trying to make sure that you're never helping to become a reality. And if you're taking drugs or alcohol while you're working, that's increasing your odds of becoming one of the statistics. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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Duration: 18 minutes and 26 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: maritimetraining on Feb 8, 2017

Drug-and-Alcohol-Prevention

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