A new initiative in Clark County will help employers create drug-free work place policies as the opioid epidemic has left employers searching for qualified workers.
The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Champaign Counties was one of 17 Ohio cities recently selected to participate in the Working Partners Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative.
As the number of opioid drug overdoses has increased over the past two years, employers have reported having trouble finding new employees who can pass a drug test, said Tracey Stute, director of treatment, prevention and support for the recovery board. Positive drug tests for employment screenings have increased nationwide in each of the past three years, according to a study by Quest Laboratories.
The board received a $20,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Recovery Services to kick-start the program, Stute said. She spoke about the initiative at the Springfield Rotary meeting Monday.
The new program will assist employers in creating drug-free policies, Stute said, including helping employees seek treatment and second chance approaches.
“It will help with a road map,” she said.
The system will also have to respond to employers needs to quickly help get employees help, Stute said.
“We’re trying to work with our side of things to figure out how we can be responsive to employers,” she said. “It’s really kind of a challenge for us.”
As part of the program, a free technical assistance course is being offered to five companies in the community, allowing them to create or refine a drug-free workplace policy. It will allow businesses to save time and money and create a system to retain and attract employees, she said.
The course will also cover drug trends impacting the workforce, legal issues like Ohio’s medical marijuana laws and best practices for operating a program.
“It’s one of the benefits of this initiative,” Stute said. “The goal for us is to sustain this initiative. Hopefully it’s not the end, but just the beginning.”
The two-day course will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Global Impact STEM Academy.
To apply or for more information, call Jennipher Brown at 937-322-0648. The registration deadline is Friday.
The initiative recently collected data from local businesses, Stute said.
The board is also collecting data from local community leaders on this issue. The deadline to participate in that survey is Friday. To participate, call the board office at 937-322-0648.
SPRINGFIELD’S OPIOID WAR