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Safety pilot program targets workers in opioid treatment

Safety pilot program targets workers in opioid treatment

In an effort it calls “second-chance” employment, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation announced on Monday a pilot program aimed to keep and hire those in opioid addiction treatment.

A new pilot program will launch in three counties with up to $5 million over two years to help employers hire, manage and retain workers in recovery from addiction, according to a statement.

“We have employers that have jobs to fill and people in recovery who want to work, but the two sides don’t often connect because of safety concerns and other reasons,” Dr. Terrence Welsh, BWC’s chief medical officer, said in the statement. “By working with both of these populations, our hope is to help businesses become more productive and workers in recovery stay on a healthy path and become productive citizens again.”

Backed with BWC funds, county Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services will administer the program to provide employers with reimbursement for pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion drug testing, training for managers/supervisors to help them better manage a workforce that includes individuals in recovery, and a forum or venue for “second-chance” employers to share success stories, learn from each other and encourage others to hire workers in recovery.

“Treatment is an essential component of recovery, but just as important is what comes next,” Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director of Montgomery County’s ADAMHS board, said in a statement. “Aftercare requires sustainability, including stable housing and employment. Successfully tackling this epidemic means investing in our workforce.”

Montgomery County, among the three to benefit from the pilot program, had 521 accidental overdose deaths in 2017, giving it the state’s highest overdose death rate for the second year in a row, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Ross and Scioto counties, the remaining two, are “routinely among the hardest-hit counties,” according to the statement.







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