November 30, 2023

To Address Opioid Epidemic, White House Promotes Recovery-Ready Workplaces

The Biden administration is encouraging U.S. employers to implement recovery-ready workplace policies and recently announced the availability of new resources, including a Recovery-Ready Workplace Toolkit. Recovery-ready workplace policies support workers with substance use disorders or individuals who are in recovery by creating safe and healthy work environments, reducing stigma, dismantling barriers to employment, and promoting addiction treatment and recovery support services.

“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 White House press release states, “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.”

The Recovery-Ready Workplace Toolkit is available through the Department of Labor’s Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub. DOL’s website explains that the toolkit “is designed to help businesses and other employers prevent and respond more effectively to substance misuse among employees, build their workforces through hiring of people in recovery, and develop a recovery-supportive culture.” It may serve as a resource for planning recovery-ready workplace initiatives at state or local levels. The Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub also connects users to a range of additional resources developed by federal departments and agencies, state and local authorities, unions and trade associations, and other organizations.

NIOSH describes workplaces as “a critical point of contact for Americans struggling with or recovering from a substance use disorder.” The agency’s 2018 National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that approximately 13.6 million workers, or nearly nine percent of all employed adults, had current alcohol or illicit drug use disorders. Another 13.4 million workers reported that they were in recovery or had recovered from a substance use disorder.

The White House press release also announced the publication of a model law, the Model Recovery-Ready Workplaces Act. Developed by the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association, the model act provides a template for state legislatures to support the development of recovery-ready workplaces.

More information can be found in the White House press release.