A Stronger Workforce through Understanding Mental Health and Addiction

Nov 22, 2022News, Newsletter

Sheryl Maxfield
Ohio Department of Commerce


About three months ago, we launched our Recovery Within Reach campaign, a first-of-its-kind effort to educate Ohioans about the financial effects of opioid addiction — and to connect them with treatment options close to their homes.

Our goal is to create a new way of talking about addiction, one in which people consider the facts and practical realities of how substance use disorder affects their lives. Not long ago, Gov. Mike DeWine challenged all of us in state government to think of ways we could help Ohioans navigate the opioid crisis that has affected our state for so long. For us, that meant considering the financial effects of addiction — and providing tools and trainings to help Ohioans and financial advisers talk about addiction and access care.

The opioid crisis is far from over, as Ohioans know all too well. One in 13 Ohioans live with addiction, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2020, more than 5,000 Ohioans died from unintentional overdose, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Ohio has the fourth-highest drug overdose rate in the U.S.

The people affected by addiction — through their own experiences living with substance use disorder or through their experiences loving someone who does — are parents, friends and employees. And navigating substance use disorder can interfere with their lives, emotionally, financially and professionally.

This is especially important for businesses across Ohio looking to build a thriving workforce — employees cannot function at their full potential when addiction is a part of their lives. The financial strain alone is enough to create significant stress for an employee: Our research has shown that a family can expect to pay around $35,000 or more a year for treatment.

Business leaders have an important role to play in helping employees navigate substance use disorder, and it starts with creating a stigma-free workplace. Talking openly about addiction and mental health and providing information that connects employees with services and resources can result in a stronger workforce.

We know, too, that addiction can affect the workplace: The National Safety Council produced calculators estimating that a company with 200 employees can spend an additional $158,000 each year on costs related to substance misuse, including lost time, health care, turnover and retraining.

The Ohio Department of Commerce’s new treatment locator map is one easy resource to share. Recovery Within Reach is also developing training modules and other materials for advisers to help families navigate the emotional and financial cost of treatment.

The Department of Commerce oversees or administers approximately 800 programs, serving as the licensing or regulatory arm of a range of business sectors. We have been leveraging technology and outreach opportunities to support Ohioans and Ohio businesses, and the Recovery Within Reach treatment map, training modules and campaign are all pieces of that effort.

Addiction has been harming Ohio families for far too long. But we know this: Treatment can work, and recovery is possible. Cost should never stand in the way of treatment — and that is why Recovery
Within Reach exists. Visit our website today and join us in helping Ohioans talk openly about addiction and treatment.


Learn more

To learn more about the campaign, visit RecoveryWithinReach.Ohio.gov.
For more information about the Ohio Department of Commerce, visit Com.Ohio.gov.

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