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Drug use deters job opportunities in the county


For some time this region has been looking for a stronger economy and healthy job market with jobs that pay a good salary and make it possible to provide for a family. Prosperity seems to be just around the corner. There is a demand for good and healthy workers. Unfortunately it is difficult to find people who can pass a drug test to fill those positions.

            According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 75 percent of all illicit drug users and most heavy alcohol users are employed either full or part time. Many know how to clean up to pass a drug test but once they have the job, they go back to substance use, not without risk of someone being hurt on the job or being fired.

            Employers go to considerable expense to find and keep good employees. Sometimes they find someone well skilled in some area and are willing to give them a chance to get clean and sober and stay that way because their skills make them valuable. But there are concerns about those who use illicit substances: absenteeism, less production, higher workers’ compensation costs and employee theft, all to a collective tune of about $100 billion US dollars.

            But drug testing doesn’t solve the problem. Because there are so few candidates to fill the available jobs, some employers decide that an employee with addiction issues is worth the cost and their efforts to help them get clean and stay that way. Those efforts don’t always work out.

            According to published reports:

  • Positive tests for marijuana increased 14.3 percent from 2013-2014.
  • Positive cocaine tests increased by 9.1 percent during the same period.
  • Positive tests for the heroin marker doubled between 2011 and 2014.
  • Positive amphetamine tests are at the highest ever level.
  • Positive methamphetamine tests are at the highest level since 2007.

In an effort to address the safety and economic threat of drug abuse in the workplace, Columbiana County is one of 18 Ohio communities participating in the Working Partners Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative. This statewide initiative is a public-private partnership, funded in part by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The initiative’s objectives are to increase an employable, drug-free workforce in Ohio; build healthier, more productive and economically sound workplaces; and to create systems to educate employees — who are parents or adults with influence over young people — to prevent drug use among that population now and in the future. To achieve these objectives the Initiative will be modeled after a program developed by drug-free workplace industry experts, Working Partners and bring together local stakeholders and businesses.

A group of local stakeholders, including representatives from Chambers of Commerce, the Bureau of Workers Compensation, safety councils, Job and Family Services, economic development organizations and others, has been meeting quarterly to implement this initiative. The group sought input from businesses and community leaders, and as part of the initiative, five county companies will be receiving technical assistance to implement and operate a drug free workplace program.

            Family Recovery Center provides help through the Drug Free Workplace Program which offers employee and supervisor training, pre-employment and random drug screens, counseling services for employees in recovery, and the employee assistance programs. FRC has worked with addiction for more than 43 years and is approved by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Businesses participating in a drug-free safety program can receive a discount in workers’ compensation premiums.

            Addiction holds a person back from achieving their greatest potential and happiness because that person is physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance and is unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects. Addiction takes hold of the individual and becomes the center of their world. They will do anything they have to do for this mistress, addiction. Untreated and uncontrolled it destroys lives and tears families apart.

            For more information about the Drug Free Workplace Program, contact FRC. For a helping hand to recovery, contact FRC. There’s a job out there for you if you can pass that drug test clean and sober.

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