(INDIANAPOLIS) — More than 200,000 employed Hoosiers are actively struggling with addiction. Businesses statewide have the opportunity to learn how to assist and retain valuable employees and learn prevention methods by virtually attending free meetings this spring.

The first priority for the Wellness Council of Indiana and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce is the safety of employees, members and investors. To adjust to the impact of COVID-19, and looking at the upcoming Indiana Workforce Recovery programs, it has been decided to make these events virtual.

The virtual sessions take place April 2, 7 and 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Indiana Workforce Recovery, which is putting on these educational events, is a joint initiative created two years ago in collaboration with the Wellness Council, the Indiana Chamber and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration. The goal of the initiative is to prepare Hoosier employers to deal with public health crises that impact the Indiana workforce.

“In 2019, we welcomed more than 600 business participants to these events – business leaders, HR directors and other key decision-makers. They were eager to get the tools necessary to manage the impact substance misuse has on their employees. We encourage other interested parties to take the step this year,” says Mike Thibideau, director of Indiana Workforce Recovery.

“Nearly 800,000 Hoosiers have used illicit drugs in the past month – so the need is definitely there. The knowledge, experience and resources gained in these sessions will help employers address the full spectrum of addiction issues from recreational marijuana to severe opioid dependence. This information becomes even more essential in times of stress for employee populations. We are excited to be able to provide the same quality material as our entire series via a virtual format.”

Continuing education unit credits are available for all participants.

Specific information to join the virtual Zoom events is below or go to www.wellnessindiana.org/calendar:

April 2 – The Zoom meeting ID:  414-715-587

April 7 – The Zoom meeting ID: 388 787 549

April 27 – The Zoom meeting ID: 898 054 356

The slide presentation and additional resources will be sent to all attendees after each virtual event.

An additional benefit: Attendees can order up to 600 complimentary prescription disposal kits for their organization.

The events are presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Community Health Network, IU Health, Parkview Health, St. Vincent/Ascension the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, RALI (Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative), the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and the Vectren Foundation, as well as local chambers of commerce.

Earlier this year, the Wellness Council of Indiana also announced a new addiction treatment and recovery program via Centerstone, a mental health and addiction treatment services provider. Through the exclusive partnership, any Indiana employer can give their current or prospective workers a second chance through this award-winning model recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. More information is available at www.wellnessindiana.org/secondchance.

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The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”