Kathy L. Miles, Coordinator
Boyle County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy, Inc.
Recent history does not provide us enough good examples of a compassionate, accurate understanding of substance use disorders, being paired simultaneously with good business practice. Instead, we have some pretty horrible headline stories of companies like Purdue Pharma, making decisions great for their profit margin – at least in the short term – but devastating for contributing to thousands of opioid overdose deaths. Purdue’s harmful decisions are still being played out in multitudes of lawsuits and an expensive continuing public health crisis. Many people have come to question if big business can make the switch that criminal justice seems to be finally making – that treatment and real rehabilitation are truly worth it.
Thankfully, Kentucky seems to be starting to make that move, and it’s obvious in some of the bills passed in this year’s legislative session. One of them is House Bill 7, sponsored by Representative Adam Bowling, which establishes an advisory council to develop guidelines for communities to receive a “Recovery Ready” certification. The bill sets forth in a new section of KRS Chapter 222, a certification process that will focus on consistent guidelines for a community to develop treatment, recovery, and prevention programs which “can help lead to a highly skilled community workforce.” This wording – straight from the bill – clearly links what is good for people with substance use disorders and the economics of an adequate and trained workforce.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is taking a leadership role in linking an informed, compassionate approach to treatment and recovery with good business. They launched the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Recovery Program in 2019 and have been instrumental in helping business leaders across the commonwealth understand why workforce development must include treatment and recovery resources for substance use disorders. The chamber is heralding the value of having high-quality and accessible programs for the bottom line of area businesses, and they have Kentucky statistics to back up their advocacy. Boyle County is no exception – we, too, have local employers whose stories of hiring people in recovery show that treatment and recovery are good for business, and ultimately, good for all of us.
April is “ Second Chance Month,” and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce urges Kentuckians to learn about substance use disorders, and to combine compassion and understanding with good business decisions, by hiring people in recovery. In central Kentucky, we have far too many unfilled local jobs to ignore this call. Our local chamber recognizes we have to make important changes, and provides a link on their website at www.danvilleboylechamber.com, to a statewide listing of employers who offer a fair chance in their hiring practices. Many local employers are responding, by reevaluating employment policies, to successfully hire employees in need of a second chance.
It’s encouraging to see that so many in Kentucky are “doing the math”, and realizing that treating addiction is not only the caring and right thing to do – it is good for business.