FORT WAYNE, Ind. (FOX 55) - According to the IU Kelley School of Business, opioid misuse has a staggering $1.5 billion direct impact on Indiana's annual economy.
The same study showed that 58% of those who suffer from substance abuse disorder are employed.
That's where the Indiana Workforce Recovery program comes in. Their aim is to teach employers how to help their employees with drug abuse addiction.
Mike Thibideau, the Director of the program says Indiana Workforce Recovery was formed by Governor Holcomb and the Wellness Council of Indiana in February 2018 by recognizing the lack of employer solutions to the opioid crisis.
Thibideau said, "it definitely was important for us to make sure that employers are getting credibly engaged with relevant information that directly pertains to the unique conversation and unique role they have in this environment."
The Employer Opioid Strategy Event Series is making its way around the state, teaching employers how to best handle situations where employee’s are struggling with substance abuse.
"People need to know about relapse and how to effectively handle that. They need to know about the social and economic factors that are related to retaining someone who’s in recoverym," Thibideau said about why they're doing the series.
Employers learned about signs an employee might be abusing drugs as well as how to develop plans that both help the business and employee
Thibideau believes plans, "needs to be consistent, because a case by case basis is where you open yourself up to a little bit more exposure. Whereas comprehensive 2nd chance policies are a national best practice as established by multiple associations and definitely something we can get behind and make sure employers push forward."
Employers who spoke with FOX 55 today say their biggest problem is finding people to work for them and with the Indiana Workforce Recovery Program, those employers will better be able to help develop and retain a talented workforce
Thibideau believes these programs are vital because "a job and a career is a solid foundation for someone to build their recovery on."
For more information about Indiana Workforce Recovery, click here.