HARRISBURG, PA — The Wolf Administration’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) recently announced the availability of a free online tool for Pennsylvania’s workforce to enhance education and awareness about substance use disorder (SUD). The tool – called Just Five – is a self-paced program that aims to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and provide education about SUD prevention and treatment.
“Employers often educate employees about diseases such as cancer and heart disease, emphasizing the importance of early screening and treatment to improve health outcomes,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “Behavioral health conditions, such as the disease of addiction, are no different. We encourage employers throughout the commonwealth to incorporate these learning modules into workplace health initiatives.”
The six short learning modules each take “just five” minutes to complete and can be accessed virtually from anywhere at any time with no registration required. The interactive lessons touch on topics including;
- The Science of Addiction
- Are You at Risk?
- The Dangers of Opioids
- Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
- How You Can Help
- The Gift of Recovery
The website is a partnership with national non-profit Shatterproof and contains a pre and posttest to measure a participant’s knowledge on SUD when entering the site and effectiveness of the lessons. Use of the Just Five website is completely confidential and voluntary, and no personal information regarding utilization of the program is shared. The program is also available in English and Spanish and is accessible for individuals with visual and/or hearing impairments.
“Our coworkers and fellow employees are often people that we interact with most,” said Smith. “By improving our understanding of this disease, we can help understand others who may be at risk or provide resources to those who may be struggling.”
A version of Just Five was rolled out to Pennsylvania commonwealth employees during National Prevention week in May 2021. Since the rollout, more than 2,700 individuals have accessed the tool and a number of participants have expressed gratitude that the science-based, informational lessons will assist them in future conversations with family, friends, and coworkers.
“The disease of addiction has far-ranging health and safety impacts for the commonwealth’s workers and their employers,” said L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “It’s absolutely essential for employees struggling with substance use disorder to have easy, confidential access to education and treatment information. Recognizing and treating this disease helps promote productive, healthy, and safe work environments for everyone.”
DDAP’s 2019-2022 State Plan highlights strategic goals for the coming years. One of the four strategic goals is centered around intensifying primary prevention. To do this, DDAP has laid out three objectives; expand evidence-based curricula and resources to school-aged children, encourage availability and awareness of education and support groups for members of our communities, and strengthen family-based prevention and intervention services.
For prevention resources for schools, families, and communities visit ddap.pa.gov/prevention.
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