NewsPublic Affairs / May 20, 2019

Most Hoosier Employers Don't Have Adequate Health Benefits For Substance Misuse

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Indiana Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement Jim McClelland. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement Jim McClelland.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

A majority of Indiana employers - 76% - say substance misuse is a problem in the community. But only a few - 13% - think it’s an issue in their own companies. 

That's from results of an Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Wellness Council survey released Monday of 500 Hoosier employers.

The survey paints a grim picture. Less than half of employers have adequate health benefits for employees struggling with substance misuse. Only about a third think their organization can support people in recovery. And Hoosier employees are just as likely to be fired after a failed drug test than given a second chance.

Wellness Council Executive Director Jennifer Pferrer says there has to be better education.

“When you think about the cost of bringing in a new employee, it is cheaper to keep somebody and retain them than it is to fire or dismiss somebody because they’re seeking treatment,” Pferrer says.

Indiana Drug Czar Jim McClelland says the state has issued guidelines employers can follow to respond to employee substance misuse.

“Understand what it takes to go through the process of achieving recovery and then maintaining recovery,” McClelland says.

The Wellness Council has also produced training videos for employers.

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