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Pennsylvania Drug Dept. highlights online education program

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) met with food service workers last week to discuss substance abuse disorder and highlight a state initiative.

The restaurant and hospitality industry ranks only behind the construction and mining industries with high rates of substance abuse disorder among workers, according to DDAP’s Steve Ross, Special Assistant to the Secretary.

“Long, irregular hours and high-pressure, physically demanding work can all have an impact on an individual’s behavioral health,” Ross said in a statement.

The state drug department wants those at-risk to know about an online, self-paced education program called Just Five, named because it’s supposed to take just five minutes to complete.

The initiative aims to help people use amid higher substance abuse and overdose numbers in the commonwealth.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has recently seen more opioid overdose deaths among restaurant-industry workers in Philadelphia, especially during 2020, according to DDAP.

Just Five was rolled out in May 2021 and has seen nearly 12,000 participants since the initiative’s introduction.

The Pennsylvania workforce Just Five program can be accessed here.