Paint Valley ADAMH Gains More $$ for Pilot Program

A pilot program meant to help area employers hire and retain workers recovering from drug addiction is getting a boost from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC).

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The Substance Use Recovery and Workplace Safety Program is providing the Paint Valley ADAM Board with $26,465 to support around a dozen local employers participating in the program. That funding will provides reimbursement for drug testing, training for managers or supervisors to help them better manage a workforce that includes individuals in recovery. It also provides second-chance employers a venue to share stories of success, hopefully encouraging others to hire workers in recovery. It covers the first quarter of 2019.

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Launched in October, BWC’s Substance Use Recovery and Workplace Safety Program is currently a $5 million, two-year pilot program covering three counties - Montgomery, Ross and Scioto. But in his two-year budget proposal for BWC, Gov. DeWine is calling for $15 million in funding to expand the program to other parts of the state.

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“More and more business owners are willing to give employees in recovery a chance, and this program gives employers tools and resources they need to help their employees succeed,” said Gov. DeWine. “My goal is to expand this program in order to reduce workplace risks allowing employees and employers to thrive.”

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“This state has been hit hard by our nation’s opioid crisis, and that goes for our employers, too,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “We’re hopeful this program can lift some of the administrative burden employers face in finding and retaining qualified, drug-free workers to fill vacant jobs. In addition, we believe this program will lead to safer, more productive workplaces.”

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The Substance Use Recovery and Workplace Safety Program calls for county ADAMH boards to identify eligible employers and employees, disperse funding and measure results. Employers pay for expenses up front and apply to the boards for reimbursement. The program applies to workers recovering from any dangerous substance, not just opioids.

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“Working with employees in recovery from a drug addiction requires some special skills, so a portion of these funds will support training supervisors and managers to be successful on that front,” said Penny Dehner, executive director of the Paint Valley ADAMH Board. “Remaining funds will support drug screens for around 50 workers.”

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National data shows the opioid crisis has lowered the labor force participation rate. In Ohio, opioid addiction, abuse and overdose deaths cost the state anywhere from $6.6 billion to $8.8 billion annually, according to a 2017 report from the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy at The Ohio State University.

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To participate in the program, a business needs to be located in the county of participation, and make contributions into the Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp.

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If you'd like more information on the program, simply contact Paint Valley ADAMH.

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