Employer Opioid Toolkit Receives National Attention

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s A Dose of Reality Employer Opioid Toolkit received national attention on Tuesday, March 20 as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Alexander Acosta, made a visit to Ohio Chamber headquarters to discuss the opioid crisis with members. The members participated in a candid roundtable discussion with Sec. Acosta that included not only how opioids are impacting the workplace but also affordable health care options for employers and potential changes to the secondary education system which could benefit job creators.

“Our discussion today was especially poignant. Every day 11 people in Ohio die from complications of opioids,” said Sec. Acosta. “It’s clear that we stand a much better chance of defeating the opioid crisis by working together.”

Sec. Acosta’s visit to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce coincided with Monday’s announcement from Pres. Trump on how his administration plans on combating the opioid epidemic. Sec. Acosta told the Ohio Chamber members that his department is going to fund seven-10 pilot programs which may b used to help provide new skills to workers, including new entrants to the workforce, who have been or are being impacted by the opioid crisis. Additionally, funds may be used for workforce development, in professions that address or prevent problems related to opioids in American communities, such as addition treatment service providers, pain management and therapy service providers, and mental health treatment providers.

“The tragedies of opioid misuse and abuse devastate families and communities, and keep too many Americans out of the workforce,” Sec. Acosta said. “President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, committing the full resources of his Administration to helping Americans impacted by the crisis. The importance of a job and work in reducing opioid abuse cannot be overstated. The Department of Labor’s grant pilot program will focus on returning individuals impacted by opioids to the workplace.”

“We want to see what works,” Sec. Acosta told Ohio Chamber members.

Participating in the roundtable discussion with the secretary were:

Chairman of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Larry Kidd, President & CEO, Reliable Staffing, Jackson
Linda Hondros, President, Hondros College of Business, Westerville
Kathleen Herath, AVP Wellbeing & Safety, Nationwide, Columbus
Rick Hoffman, Director Safety & Health, AEP, Columbus
Eric Stevens, Human Resources Business Partner – Operations, Glatfelter, Chillicothe
Steve Martenet, Ohio President, Anthem BlueCross/BlueShield, Worthington
Josh Zabek, Plant General Manager, Anheuser-Busch, Columbus
Robert Blum, Director of Operations, Co-Owner Hinkley Management dba Dunkin’ Donuts, Hinkley
Dee Mason, Founder & CEO, Working Partners, Canal Winchester
Bill Bishop, President, Associated Insurance, Westerville
Dan Harms, CFO, Accel, Inc., New Albany

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce launched A Dose of Reality Employer Opioid Toolkit on Wednesday, March 14. It was developed to help all Ohio employers deal with the opioid crisis. The toolkit was produced by Ohio Chamber member Working Partners with funding provided by Anthem BlueCross/BlueShield. The free toolkit is available online at http://ohiochamber.com/opioid-toolkit/

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