Mike Thibideau, director of Indiana Workforce Recovery, shares his personal story of recovery.

Earlier this week, Indiana Workforce Recovery partnered to unveil critical resources for employers dealing with substance abuse disorder in the workplace. At the same time, however, first-of-its-kind survey results revealed an important disconnect in recognition of the challenge and best practices.

A few of the survey highlights (full press release and infographic):

  • 76% acknowledge that drug and alcohol misuse is a community challenge. But only 13% of employers view this misuse as a problem within their organization.
  • A Hoosier who fails a drug screen for the first time is almost as likely to be terminated (22%) as they are to be given a second chance (24%). Very few organizations (6%) follow best practice when applicants test positive or consider hiring those applicants if they come back and test negative after they were cleared by a qualified drug/alcohol professional.

“Businesses are a very important part of every community and it’s increasingly likely that drug or alcohol use is impacting a portion of their workforce – whether that’s employees personally or someone close to them,” says Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI). “We want to encourage employers to take a good, in-depth look at their organizations to see what may very well be hiding in plain sight and then help them take the next steps.”

The employer resources to take those steps come in two forms:

  • Guidelines that are a result of Indiana’s substance abuse treatment law that was passed in 2018. They are intended to help employers by putting forth the proper path they should follow in the event an employee or job applicant fails a drug screening or voluntarily comes forward for assistance. The state of Indiana, through the Family Social Services Administration (FSSA), partnered with the Indiana Chamber and WCI on delivering the guidelines.
  • A video toolkit that serves in conjunction with the state guidelines and takes a deeper dive on the subject matters. The five videos run 12 to 15 minutes each and topics include: crafting a policy that’s right for a company’s culture, the ins and outs of drug testing and responding to an employee’s harmful use of drugs. An additional video set is slated for release later this summer.

“For Indiana’s employers and recovery community, these tools and survey results present an opportunity,” Pferrer shares. “By building policies and systems that bring the continuum of care into the workplace and directly engaging businesses in prevention, promotion, treatment and recovery, it will help more people enter measurably better recovery sooner, and help businesses retain and hire drug-free, qualified talent.”