Despite great strides in expanding addiction treatment options and services, Indiana finds itself amidst a still worsening opioid epidemic. Many people who are qualified to work in a position cannot do so because they cannot pass a drug test. Unfortunately in response, many employers have stopped drug testing new employees altogether. I know companies can be in a crunch to fill empty positions, but this practice is too risky. To help address this two-pronged problem involving both our economy and the issue of substance abuse, the House Committee on Employment, Labor and Pensions passed a bill this week I authored establishing a drug addiction workforce recovery program.
In many communities, the struggle to fill empty positions can be attributed to addiction and mental health problems. Otherwise qualified workers cannot pass a drug screening. As a society, we know quite well that illicit drug use combined with unemployment frequently leads to jail or prison. The legislation I am proposing would create a pipeline in which those struggling with addiction can begin to pull their life together by simultaneously starting a new job and an addiction treatment program. For participating companies, the voluntary program would make these employees’ continued employment dependent upon their commitment to their own recovery. This would include following their treatment plan, attending counseling sessions, and passing drug tests.
Funding for this recovery program would come from grants and the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), along with a small portion being withheld from the employee’s paycheck. This would allow these employees to invest in their own recovery, an important gesture of personal responsibility. Our hope is that we can accomplish two goals at the same time: address our communities’ workforce shortages while putting those struggling with addiction on the path to sobriety and steady employment.
It is essential that Hoosier communities realize drug addiction and employment are interrelated. As your representative, I am determined to tackle this epidemic on both the home front and in the workplace. But we will not stem the tide until we can offer those struggling with addiction a meaningful and rewarding alternative. Please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (317) 232-9769 with any question or comments you have.
Rep. Steve Davisson represents Washington County, and portions
of Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison counties.
A high-resolution photo of Davisson can be downloaded by clicking here.