Off the bottle and back to work

  • 2008-09-03
  • By Marge Tubalkain-Trell

DESAUCED: The Estonian government is funding treatment and footing the bill for expenses for alcoholics in an attempt to reduce the number of alcohol abusers in the work force.

TALLINN - The labor office will offer treatment for alcoholism and pay most of the expenses in a bid to reduce alcohol abuse in the nation's work force.
According to the labor office's experience, the need for such a program is obvious and pressing. "More and more job seekers in the labor office belong to some kind of risk group 's at the moment, nearly 70 percent of them," said Karin Andre, program leader for to The Baltic Times
The number of people who have been unemployed for long periods of time has also increased, and members of this group are often in this situation because of alcohol abuse. Every year, about 2000 deaths of working-age people in Estonia can be attributed to alcohol.

The office presumes that the treatment will decrease the number of people who quit job searches because of alcohol, and that it will help alcoholics manage themselves independently and keep the jobs they find.
"The labor office communicates often with local governments, and in cooperation with local social workers has found that alcohol problems are stopping some people from finding or getting a job or retraining," Andre said.
The service has been available since last week, and so far, three or four people have shown interest in it. To get the treatment, a person must use at least two other services from the labor office, such as job mediation or career counseling. In career counseling, it may become clear that an alcohol problem is keeping that person from getting a job. It the person admits to the problem and is willing to get the treatment, it will be provided.
Part of the treatment involves implanting a one-year ampoule under the skin. The office also offers up to three psychiatric consultations for free. "It's one of the most effective treatment possibilities," Andre said.

In the clinic, the first consultation will tell whether the implant can be useful to that person and whether he or she is physically ready. If so, the ampoule will be implanted with small operation at the second consultation.
"We hope that it will not be popular, but when facing the facts, we have calculated with 200 places until the end of next year," Raido Raudnagel, manager of subprogram said to ETV. Those spots will be divided between the 15 counties.

The treatment, accommodation and travel costs will be covered by the labor office, which has received 800,000 kroons (51,129 euros) from the European Social Fund.