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Your Environment. Your Health.

Initiatives to Prevent Opioid Misuse and Promote Recovery Friendly Workplace Programs

To respond to issues around the growing opioid epidemic, the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) has developed training, resources, and tools on opioids and the workplace. Sharing information about initiatives to prevent opioid misuse and promote recovery friendly workplace programs is part of the WTP’s commitment to propagating this important work.

A new document, Initiatives to Prevent Opioid Misuse and Promote Recovery Friendly Workplace Programs, highlights examples of initiatives developed by employers, unions, community-based organizations, and government agencies for the prevention of opioid misuse and promotion of recovery friendly workplace programs, including training programs, toolkits, resources, and initiatives from other agencies and organizations. Several examples of these union, company, and local initiatives are highlighted below, along with more about specific toolkits and resources.

Union Initiatives

As the opioid epidemic continues to impact communities, unions have come together to support their fellow members as they help one another find support and seek recovery. For example:

  • CPWR – the Center for Construction Research and Training and North America’s Building Trades Unions Opioids in the Workplace Initiative has developed numerous materials to train individuals on how to identify and respond to opioid misuse. (Read More)
  • The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) operates the Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery, a treatment facility for those IAFF members struggling with addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other related behavioral health challenges. (Read More)
  • The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 478’s Member Assistance program, an internal peer-based program that provides confidential help, and referral services to union members in need. (Read More)
  • The United Auto Workers’ (UAW) presented at union conferences and held workshops to educate members on the risk of workplace injury and opioid use disorder. UAW drafted and approved a collective bargaining resolution with major employers that offers a means of treatment and recovery while destigmatizing addiction. (Read More)

Company Initiatives

Companies nationwide have been impacted by the opioid epidemic and have instituted novel approaches to supporting their workforce in response. For example:

  • Belden, a manufacturer in Richmond, Indiana, developed a “Pathways to Employment” program, blending drug-rehabilitation with the promise of employment for new and existing workers willing to lead drug-free lives. (Read More)
  • Leidos, an engineering company, instituted an industry-wide pledge that calls on the private sector to leverage their power to create workplaces where it is safe to have uncomfortable conversations about addiction and help build drug-free communities to help curb addiction. (Read More)
  • RK, a construction company based in Denver, Colorado, took action to destigmatize mental health and convene team-wide meetings that allow individuals to have honest conversations about their struggles. These meetings give them an opportunity to be connected with appropriate services and resources. (Read More)

Local (City or State) Initiatives

Several states and cities across the U.S. mobilized in response to the opioid epidemic, providing assistance for local residents to access substantive support and information. Examples of these local initiatives include:

  • The Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Program, “Opioids in the Workplace” Initiative, two full-day conferences with 250 stakeholders to educate the public on best-practices to combat the opioid epidemic. (Read More)
  • The City of Concord, New Hampshire initiated a continuous program of mental health and substance use programs for the city’s 475 workers. (Read More)
  • Make the Road New York (MRNY), a community-based organization in New York City, administers Community Health Worker training. MRNY recently developed an opioids in the workplace training to compliment their program. (Read More)

Toolkits and Resources

Many states and organizations have developed opioid and the workplace toolkits, mainly directed to employers. Examples of these toolkits and resources include:

  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s Opioid Employer Toolkit with several employer-oriented training modules. (Read More)
  • New Hampshire’s Recovery Friendly Workplace program, instituted by over 280 businesses that creates work environments that further mental and physical well-being of employees in an effort to prevent substance misuse and support recovery from substance use disorders. (Read More)
  • New York’s CHAMPS Program and Legislation that established legal protections for individuals with substance use disorders. (Read More)

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