The hope is that health effects from the coronavirus are short-lived. When the topic is drug addiction in the workplace, however, the challenges are ongoing and the work of the Indiana Workforce Recovery (IWR) initiative is more important than ever.

IWR began its second round of Employer Opioid Strategy sessions in early March. Efforts continue – currently on a virtual basis – to provide inspiring recovery stories, legal guidance on drug-free workplace policies, connections to treatment initiatives and more.

At the in-person event in Columbus, attendees heard from Brittany Young. She evolved from a conviction for drug dealing and still using drugs in prison to being invited as a guest of Gov. Eric Holcomb to his 2019 State of the State address. She now faces a happy choice of whether to continue a career in welding or focus even more on assisting others in recovery.

Matt Heskett has experienced a roller coaster ride that started with a business degree and sales career. Alcohol and substance abuse followed. While his personal recovery continues, he has faced job advancement hurdles and the stigma of (as one example) Airbnb reservations being cancelled due to a past criminal charge.

A panel discussion in Columbus included a unique partnership between Decatur Plastics Products (DPP) of North Vernon and a group of local pastors. The company donated the money for a home dubbed The Potter’s House. People who have suffered from drug addiction in the past live at the home in a supervised setting and work at the factory.

DPP has also started a work release initiative for women inmates in a nearby prison.

“Our employees love the program(s),” says Kent Stroud, a pastor and public relations officer with DPP. “People enjoy the fact that they work for a company willing to take chances. There’s a pride factor that comes with it.”

Upcoming virtual strategy sessions with similar content for employers are set for April 7 and 27. Find additional information on these programs, IWR and the first Indiana Opioid Summit on June 18, as well as details on the partnership with Centerstone and its nationally recognized Workforce Investment Program that offers direct consultation to individual businesses.

IWR’s work is made possible through the support of these investors: Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, Community Health Network, Vectren Foundation, RALI, Parkview Health, St. Vincent Health, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, CVS Health, IU Health and Cook Group.