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Ohio drug-free initiative studying economic threat of drug abuse in workplace

Special to the Legal News

Published: May 19, 2017

More than 5,000 surveys were recently collected from Ohio business leaders by The Working Partners Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative in an effort to better understand and address the safety and economic threat of drug abuse in the workplace.

"We are excited about this data, as it simply does not exist anywhere," said Dee Mason, founder and CEO at The Working Partners. "Ohio is on the forefront of compiling this critically needed information."

The Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative is a public-private partnership between the state of Ohio and Working Partners to address the "economic threat of substance abuse by employees and job seekers in Ohio."

Working Partners is a consulting firm that offers drug-free workplace consultation, training and support services to companies.

The survey and dissemination process was overseen by statistician and research analyst Yvonne Olivares, who gathered information including the perceived prevalence and impact of opiate and other substance abuse in the workplace.

She also retained information on the prevalence of job seekers and employees testing positive for drugs; the application and caliber of drug-free workplace programs; the degree to which second chances are being offered; knowledge of community-helping resources; and attitudes about prevention and treatment.

"Consistently, business leaders share their difficulties finding employees who can pass drug tests," said Andrew Doehrel, president and CEO, Ohio Chamber of Commerce. "This data will help us better understand the issues businesses face and will be invaluable as we develop action plans to address drug abuse in the workplace at a community and statewide level."

The survey was distributed to a comprehensive representation of varied industries in 17 participating Ohio counties and completed by a business leader with strong infrastructure knowledge, according to a press release.

A corresponding community leader survey was distributed to leaders with insight into the issues and needs of the business community.

This survey data will be supplemented with secondary data, resulting in reports to help guide the efforts to support and develop a strong, drug-free workforce in each of the participating counties.

Survey reports are planned for release this summer.

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