On October 15, 2018, the BWC will be launching a pilot program to support employers willing to hire workers struggling to overcome an addiction to opioids and other dangerous substances1. With the opioid crisis currently being a big issue in Ohio, many employers are having a difficult time finding qualified applicants who do not have a history of substance abuse or addiction. In Montgomery County alone, 521 accidental overdose deaths accrued in 20172. This is why the BWC has made this program available for Montgomery, Ross and Scioto counties. The BWC will be partnering with the counties Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health board (ADAMH). The job of the ADAMH board will be to identify eligible employers and employees, disperse funding among employers as needed and measure the results of the program3. The BWC then, will be in charge of the training of supervisors and managers along with reimbursement for drug testing and providing a venue for employer's to share "second chance" stories. In Ohio, opioid addiction, abuse and overdose deaths cost the state $6.6 billion-$8.8 billion each year4. The state instead hopes to put more money into helping Employers hire, manage and retain workers by providing $5 million over two years as needed by employers. Small businesses sometimes feel a burden when it comes to drug testing employees because of the amount of time and money it costs5. This means that some businesses tend not to hire applicants who have a history of substance abuse or addiction. With this pilot program, the BWC reimburse employers for drug testing allowing the employer not to feel burdened. Penny Dehner, Executive Director of the Pain Valley ADAMH board says, "If someone tests positive, we want them to give people a second chance... but we have to make sure there are treatment options available for them, and there's someone to track that" 6. Studies show that people on a pathway to recovery show more success when they are employed7. The opioid crisis is lowering the labor force participation rate in Ohio. The BWC is trying to put a stop to it and get people on the right path to recovery8!
In addition to reporting the injury, seeking medical care after the injury is perhaps one of the most important things to do at the beginning of workers' compensation claims. Obtaining medical care creates documentation of the diagnosis and the injury that was sustained. In many situations, the medical care provided just after the injury can help direct the injured worker to more specialized care or therapy if such treatment is deemed necessary. It is also the first opportunity for a medical expert to offer an opinion on whether there is a cause and effect connection between the injury and the diagnosis.