How to Professionally Address the Employment Gap Because of Substance Use Treatment

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By: SUPE Editorial Team

Drug and alcohol addiction takes a devastating toll on employability and maintaining a job. Most people addicted to drugs are fired from drugs because of their addiction. Other individuals struggle to find work.

Additionally, the time spent in substance use treatment causes a significant gap on resumes. It also becomes much harder to hide a past today than it was 10 or 20 years ago; the internet is forever. It can be challenging to hide a past from an interview committee. Even if it is successful, the lie could come back.

However, the Americans with Disabilities Act addresses addiction and protects individuals at certain stages of employment. Before an interview, it is a good idea to become familiar with this particular act.

The ADA states the following: “The ADA applies to addiction to alcohol and to the illegal use of drugs differently. Addiction to alcohol is generally considered a disability whether use of alcohol is in the present or in the past. For people with an addiction to opioids and other drugs, the ADA protects a person in recovery who is no longer engaging in the current illegal use of drugs.

Dealing with Gaps in Employment

When working to rebuild a resume, there will likely be gaps in work history. Initially, it is crucial to build your resume honestly. Here are some tips:

Icon to represent a resume

Include as much as possible

Include as much as possible in your resume to fill these gaps, such as work and school history, training, volunteer work, and any qualifications that could demonstrate your fit for the position.

Icon to represent being honest

Be honest

Suppose a potential employer does question your work history. In that case, honesty is always the best approach, and the ADA does provide protection. You are not obligated to disclose information; it is entirely up to you what information you offer. There are ways to disclose personal struggles appropriately, and most employers appreciate a candidate being straightforward and honest.

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Highlight your qualities & skills

Fill the gaps in your resume with qualities or skills about yourself that qualify you for the job position. Work history is necessary but not always the only factor employers are searching for.

Test Your Knowledge

Employment Gap Because of Substance Use Treatment

You should lie about past addiction issues so you can be seen as a better job applicant.

Substance use treatment is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

What should you not do to fill the gaps on your resume created by your substance use issues?

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SUPE IS A NONPROFIT PLATFORM FUNDED AND HOSTED BY DRS. IT IS THE DRUG EDUCATION AND PREVENTION SECTION OF DRS & ADDICTED.ORG.

IT WAS CREATED TO FURTHER DRS’ MISSION TO EDUCATE PEOPLE AND TO PREVENT SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER.