New National Resources Will Help Workplaces Become “Recovery-Friendly”

A new national program, resources launch as the feds seek to expand resources for substance use disorder recovery for workplaces.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy on November 8 announced new resources to support substance use disorder “recovery-friendly” workplaces across the country. New resources include a national institute to provide training and resources for employers willing to hire and help people in substance abuse recovery and model legislation to help states create recovery-ready workplaces.

A White House press release reads:

As part of President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy and Unity Agenda efforts to beat the overdose epidemic and save lives, the Biden-Harris Administration is unveiling resources that will equip businesses and state leaders with tools to expand employment opportunities for the tens of millions of Americans struggling with substance use disorder or in recovery.

Recovery-ready workplace policies help support workers with substance use disorder by creating a safe and healthy work environment, reducing stigma, breaking down barriers for employment, and promoting addiction treatment and recovery support services. Adopting recovery-ready workplace policies is also critical for businesses seeking to expand and strengthen their workforces and improve their bottom line.

New resources for employers and governments include:

  • A Recovery-Ready Workplace Toolkit: Guidance and Resources for Private and Public Sector Employers to help businesses and employers prevent and respond more effectively to substance use disorder among employees, build their workforces through hiring people in recovery, and develop a recovery-supportive workplace culture.
  • New model legislation for state governments to support creating and developing recovery-ready workplaces in their states. The model legislation guides states in how to:
    • Establish a program by which employers can become recovery-ready workplace participants or certified as recovery-ready workplaces;
    • Encourage employers to institute workplace policies and procedures that:
      • Establish a culture that values a healthy work environment and offers opportunities for employee recovery and retention;
      • Help reduce occupational injuries and work-related stressors that might lead to substance misuse;
      • Encourage hiring of qualified people in recovery, including those with a history of criminal justice system involvement associated with their past substance use;
      • Eliminate barriers for employees seeking treatment; and
      • Assist employees in maintaining recovery, wellness, safety, and productivity.
    • Establish a tax credit and stipend for employers that are certified as recovery-ready workplaces; and
    • Establish state-based funding mechanisms and grant programs to further recovery-ready workplaces.

The White House specifically highlighted local governments as beneficiaries of the new resources:

The new resources announced today will help private businesses, non-profits, unions, trade associations, and state, local, and Tribal governments strengthen their workforce and grow our economy while playing a leading role in developing a recovery-ready nation. At a time when the majority of Americans with substance use disorder are employed, and given that employment is often essential to achieving and sustaining recovery, the Administration is calling on businesses and employers to play a critical role in strengthening our nation’s response to the overdose epidemic by implementing recovery-ready workplace policies.

New Hampshire’s successful “Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative,” launched in 2018, served as a model for several of the national initiatives. Alongside the White House resources launch, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced that his state’s program will expand nationwide under the National Recovery Friendly Workplace Institute, which he described as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan effort” that will be housed in the Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation. Sununu will serve as the honorary board chair of the new institute.

Learn more about the new resources.