Indiana Kicks Off Fall Employer Seminar Series on Opioids

Sep 11, 2019

Tony Toomer, opioid treatment program manager for Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration, addresses employers in South Bend.
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

The Wellness Council of Indiana kicked off a statewide series of employer talks in South Bend on Wednesday. It’s part of a campaign to encourage employers to hire and retain workers struggling with opioid addiction. 

The goal of the seminar was to arm employers with information about opioid abuse and treatment programs so they can help workers who ask for assistance with addiction. Representatives from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Family and Social Services Administration spoke. 

Mike Thibideau is the director of Indiana Workforce Recovery. He says there are currently more than 200,000 employed Hoosiers with substance use disorder. Of those, 30,000 didn’t seek treatment for fear it would impact their job. 

“So this is an issue that very directly affects employers,” he says. “Both from their ability to retain existing talent and their ability to identify new talent that could be very gainfully employed.” 

He encourages companies that see health insurance claims due to opioid abuse to consider starting a second chance program for employees to get help while staying employed.

Several more opioid strategy events for employers will be held across the state. More information can be found on the Wellness Indiana website

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