Finding Hope


FINDING HOPE: Community partnership educates employers on substance use disorders

Posted at 7:56 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 09:56:43-04

BOISE, Idaho — Whether it’s a drop in productivity or employees not showing up to work, addiction can impact an employer's bottom lines.

A new “Recovery Friendly Workplace” initiative in the Treasure Valley is educating business leaders on substance use disorders and ways to support employees through recovery.

“There’s no business that is not impacted in some way by substance abuse disorders,” Recovery United, Inc. CEO Monica Forbes said.

Whether it’s the food service industry, construction, or a typical office setting, addiction impacts people in every community.

“It’s insurance companies, even in our health care systems, in law enforcement,” Forbes explained.

But what if those managers and supervisors were trained on what to look out for and how to help?

“Intervening early before the disease progresses in severity is so important, and that’s what makes employers such a valuable intercept point,” PEER Wellness Center director of operations Rebecca Lee said.

The one-year pilot program is a product of a $10,000 grant from the Office of Drug Policy.

PEER Wellness Center hopes to partner with dozens of Idaho businesses to educate employers on addiction and recovery and available resources in the community.

“Each business is partnered with a recovery-friendly adviser and that’s so we are sure we can customize their needs,” Lee said.

If businesses are willing, their adviser can help them examine existing policies.

“You have a policy and procedure for when an employee needs to take medical leave. Can we take that same policy and apply it to behavioral health needs as well? Quite often they can,” Forbes said.

Their goal is to help businesses increase productivity and create a more supportive culture in the workplace.

“It’s less turnover, it’s less training,” Forbes said. “All the cost that goes along with on-boarding and looking for new employees, when you’ve already invested in this person.”

The partnership comes at no cost to the business and PEER Wellness is ready to pair up with more employers. Click here to learn more.