Opiod toolkit has resources for businesses
By many measures, Tennessee’s economy is booming. Existing businesses are growing and new businesses are moving to our state and creating hundreds of jobs, unemployment is at a record low, and business confidence is at a high. Yet for too many Tennesseans, a seemingly insurmountable barrier keeps them out of our booming economy, losing out on our growth. The barrier both businesses and employees face is the alltoo- familiar opioid epidemic.
The opioid epidemic is happening all across America, and unfortunately, Tennessee has been one of the hardest-hit states. In 2018 alone, nearly 2,000 people in the state died of overdoses, and the Nashville Fire Department experienced a 25% increase in naloxone administration from June 2018 to June 2019. Thousands of Tennesseans have left the labor force because of substance use disorder, losing out on nearly $2 billion per year in lost productivity and harming businesses’ ability to recruit and retain a talented workforce and remain competitive. Employers want to help employees who may struggle with substance use disorder themselves or that of a loved one, but they don’t know where to turn for help.
All across Tennessee, local nonprofits, religious organizations, community-based coalitions, recovery organizations and first responders have stepped up to stem the tide of the opioid crisis. Yet it’s hard to find a centralized resource.
That’s why the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is working to connect the power of our business community across the state in promoting a resource to bridge the gap between employers and recovery services. Our opioid toolkit was created to help businesses connect with local, state and national resources to help reduce the impact of opioids on their employees. Through our toolkit, businesses can find guides to create recovery policies for employees, preventive services, community events, recovery care and other important resources.
The tools in the opioid toolkit can increase safety, decrease liability, protect a company’s reputation and productivity, and help keep our economy strong. Employers and human resources HR managers can find their nearest recovery care organizations, provide resources for safely managing and disposing of unused prescriptions, and find out how to include recovery care in their health insurance coverage.
State, local chambers to work together
Furthermore, the Tennessee Chamber is partnering with local chambers in Jackson, Middle Tennessee, Maryville and Kingsport to make sure that businesses in each Grand Division are able to connect with local organizations that could lend a hand in the fight against opioids. We’ll host panel discussions with members of recovery organizations, hospital organizations, insurance providers and others who see the impact opioids make on our communities on a daily basis. At these events, local human resource managers and employers can make one-on-one connections, find out ways to participate in Recovery Month, partner with organizations that collect unwanted prescriptions, or find out how to update their insurance to include recovery resources.
This epidemic has touched every person in the state of Tennessee, and it’s going to take all of us to overcome its devastating impacts Bradley Jackson is president and CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry.