Safety+Health magazine reports in April, Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said 46 million people in the U.S.—about 15% of the adult population—have a substance abuse disorder, but fewer than one in 10 seek treatment; many are concerned they will lose their jobs or treatment will interfere with their jobs.
The construction industry continues to struggle with the opioid epidemic. Support from employers is key when it comes to recovery, and the Department of Labor offers the following policies and practices recovery-ready workplaces adopt:
- Expanding employment opportunities for people in or seeking recovery
- Facilitating help-seeking among employees with substance use disorder
- Ensuring access to needed services, including treatment, recovery support and mutual aid
- Informing employees in recovery they may have the right to reasonable accommodations and other protections that can help them keep their jobs
- Reducing the risk of substance misuse and substance use disorder, including through education and steps to prevent injury in the workplace
- Educating all levels of the company regarding substance use disorder and recovery to reduce stigma and misunderstanding, including by facilitating open discussion about the topic
- Ensuring prospective and current employees understand the employer is recovery-ready and are familiar with relevant policies and resources
Supportive employers who provide a recovery-ready workplace can help eliminate the stigma that accompanies opioid addiction and create an environment where employees are comfortable sharing their stories.