The following blog is from Hamilton County Public Health on their Recovery Friendly Hamilton County initiative, which champions recovering citizens and helps establish workplaces as recovery friendly employers. You can also view their August 10, 2022 informational session below to learn more.

Recovering Citizens: Resourceful, Resilient, and Ready to Work

23 million Americans are in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

23 million people who’ve gone head-to-head with their personal demons, their naysayers, and their brain’s own biology.

23 million people who’ve fought for their health, wellness, and the chance to reclaim the reins from addiction.

They’ve fought. They continue to fight. They win.

Recovering citizens are our friends, neighbors, family members, and colleagues. They are resourceful, resilient, and ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

You need them on your team and Recovery Friendly Hamilton County (RFHC) is here to help!

RFHC Background and Mission

RFHC began with a vision at Hamilton County Public Health (HCPH) for equipping local employers with the tools and resources they need to address SUD among their personnel. It is estimated that over 75% of Americans with an SUD are part of the workforce (Goplerud et al., 2017).

Whether you realize it or not, your workplace is incurring the cost of substance misuse through decreased productivity, absenteeism, turnover, and more. The human and economic toll of addiction is far too great to go unchecked in the workplace.

Follow this link if you’re interested in determining the approximate cost of substance misuse in your own workplace.

In addition to providing resources to help employers fight SUD, HCPH wanted to embark on a countywide campaign that would champion and support those already in recovery as well as battle the stigma of addiction. Through extensive research and interagency coordination, RFHC has become one of many recovery-friendly workplace initiatives taking a foothold across the nation.

RFHC wants to enable Hamilton County workplaces to espouse advantageous recovery-friendly practices, recruit quality candidates, and retain valuable workers through a collaborative, no cost partnership.

Follow this link to learn more about the first recovery-friendly workplace initiative, which serves as the model for RFHC.

How We Support Your Workplace

RFHC designees will have access to the following free resources:

  • Formal Designation and Acknowledgement as a Recovery-Friendly Employer
    • By meeting our basic requirements (see below), your workplace will be designated as a Recovery Friendly Hamilton County employer. You will receive a vinyl decal of our logo which you may display on your premises, as well as our branding to use for other authorized purposes. We will also promote your designee status through our website.
  • New Recruitment Avenues
    • In receiving our endorsement, RFHC employers will become a beacon for recovering citizens seeking employment. Recovering citizens remain an untapped resource for employers despite their comparative advantage over the general workforce—research indicates that employees in recovery take fewer sick days per year and incur less healthcare costs (Goplerud et al., 2017). RFHC intends to offer its designees an RFHC specific job board, as well as the opportunity to engage in designee specific job fairs.
  • Linkage to Care for Employees
    • Already have an EAP? We’re not here to replace them. However, through our internal resources and key community partners, we can offer your employees 24/7 access to anonymous SUD supportive services.
  • Recovery Friendly Consultation
    • Do you suspect that an employee is struggling with an SUD but you’re not sure how to best approach the conversation with them? Are you noticing workplace gossip that stigmatizes those in—or seeking—recovery? Though we cannot provide expert legal guidance, an RFHC coordinator will provide you with resources and information to best approach common SUD-related issues. Through our cooperation with other national recovery friendly workplace initiatives, we can network with other agencies for information that we may not have immediate access to.
  • Training
    • From primers on SUD and recovery to trauma-informed care practices, we want to get your workplace connected with the right training to sustain this initiative.
  • Policy & Protocol Resources
    • Want to take your recovery friendly status a step further? Our recovery friendly workplace partners in the state of New Hampshire have graciously provided us with progressive policy and protocol examples from some of their most forward-thinking designees. Though we can share these examples with you, we cannot provide any expert legal advice pertaining to policy adjustment.
  • Harm Reduction Supplies
    • Enhance your company’s first aid kit and save a life with NARCAN®. An HCPH staff member can provide your workplace with the training and resources necessary to reverse an overdose.
  • Future Updates
    • As RFHC continues to grow, new community partnerships will allow us to offer you additional services. We will keep you abreast of any exciting new developments.

Interested in Becoming a Recovery Friendly Employer?

We understand that you’re busy! RFHC is based on a replicable service model that has been successful through its ease of use and sustainability. Our RFHC designees will be required to undertake the following tasks to gain RFHC designation:

  1. Submit a formal letter of intent to RFHC indicating your interest in the program and willingness to meet its basic requirements. This letter must be signed by human resources personnel and/or senior level management. A sample template will be provided.
  2. Make a written declaration of support to your employees signifying your endorsement of the RFHC program and its implications for the workplace. A sample template will be provided.
  3. Post RFHC resource posters in your workplace where they can be viewed by all employees. Digital copies can be provided for remote employees.
  4. Undergo brief orientation training with an RFHC coordinator to gain an understanding of the resources allotted by HCPH. This training can be held virtually or in-person according to the needs of the business and is designed for human resources and/or senior level management. Trainings last for approximately 45 minutes.
  5. Complete a yearly check-in with your RFHC Coordinator to ensure that employees are made aware of existing ATOD policies and your affiliation with the RFHC initiative.

 If you are interested in receiving more information about this no-cost program, please contact our RFHC Coordinators at recoveryfriendly@hamilton-co.org or 513-801-6205.

Sources:

Goplerud E, Hodge S, Benham T. A Substance Use Cost Calculator for US Employers With an Emphasis on Prescription Pain Medication Misuse. J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Nov;59(11):1063-1071.