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Healthier and Safer Workplaces (and Communities):The CareTrek Answer #6

Posted by Joe Antle on October 25, 2020 5:45 PM EDT
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What is the Role of a Region’s Leading Employers in Creating Drug Free Communities and helping to provide support and.....

....services to assist other players in the community to create a more drug-free place to live, work, play and pursue their dreams? 

A region's leading employers are an enormous leverage point in building healthier, safer and drug-free communities.  Employers can adopt drug-free workplace policies that not only influence more than 90% of the community (their employees).  But the leading employers can also provide financial, social, support and influence to substance abuse addicted citizens who when recovered can become future employees.

Counties across the country are realizing that a quality workforce is one of the single most important factors for promoting county economic competitiveness. To be successful after treatment, people in recovery need to be part of the community—and this usually means being employed. Employment can aid those in recovery by providing purpose in their lives, establishing a reassuring sense of routine, and integrating structure that replaces negative decisions with positive choices.

However, for a person in recovery, returning to work comes with various barriers that extend beyond the state of the job market, the level of education, or qualifications, such as stigma in the community, impaired health, and an ever-present struggle to maintain sobriety. Finding a job after rehabilitation or during recovery may also mean making some sacrifices to prioritize that person’s sobriety, such as working part-time or alternative hours in order to accommodate treatment and meetings. If that person has been displaced from the workforce for some time, reentry into the job market may mean taking a lower paying opportunity.

The challenge is finding more quality programs in rural areas that connect people in recovery to employers willing to give this pool of potential employees a second chance. Employers may demonstrate empathy and support for people in recovery yet doubt the candidate’s ability to effectively and consistently carry out work responsibilities. The person in recovery needs an opportunity to show that he or she can be accountable and productive in the workplace and maintain his or her sobriety.

Source:  "Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger Healthy, Drug-Free Rural Communities",  Office of National Drug Control Policy,  Winter 2020.

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