As part of President Biden’s Unity Agenda, Google and Governor Sununu join the White House in releasing new guidance and call-to-action for employers and state governments to strengthen whole-of-society response to address the opioid epidemic
Washington, D.C. – 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.
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.
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 business seeking to expand and strengthen their workforces and improve their bottom line.
The Biden-Harris Administration is releasing the 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. The toolkit is also intended to serve as a resource not only to businesses, but to states, local and Tribal governments, labor organizations, business groups, and non-profits considering launching multi-employer recovery-ready workplace initiatives at the state or local levels. The toolkit is housed in the Department of Labor’s Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub, which was developed to help employers respond more effectively to substance misuse in the workforce while supporting and hiring people in recovery.
“President Biden has called on all Americans to come together and beat the nation’s opioid epidemic,” said White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Gupta. “The resources we’re announcing today bring together businesses, state and community leaders, and the Federal government to ensure that people with addiction and those in recovery can get—and keep—jobs. A job is about dignity and respect, and ensuring American workplaces are recovery-ready will support millions of recovery journeys while strengthening our economy.”
“This toolkit is an important resource for employers who are interested in hiring and retaining top talent. At the Department of Labor, we know that our economy is at its strongest when we are tapping into the talent of workers from all communities, and that includes individuals with substance use disorders,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su. “Getting this information to employers translates directly into healthier and more productive workplaces, where opportunity is not limited for those in, or seeking, recovery.”
“As a former governor, I’ve seen the devastating impact that substance use disorder is having on communities across the country firsthand, and I’m glad the Biden-Harris Administration is working to ensure recovery-ready workplaces,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “President Biden has been clear this is a public health crisis, and we all need to meet this moment – that means federal, state, Tribal, and local government and the private sector. These new initiatives and resources will support Americans working toward and maintaining their recovery and help give them access to the economic opportunity they deserve.”
“Like all Americans, the millions of individuals who are in recovery for addiction need good jobs and access to high-quality, affordable health care. President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy expands employment opportunities for people in recovery, creating a safe and healthy work environment, reducing stigma, and eliminating barriers to employment,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra. “Promoting recovery-ready workplace policies across the private and public sector helps the families and communities most impacted by the overdose epidemic while also helping to bolster our economy. HHS continues to focus on the full range of solutions needed to address the nation’s overdose epidemic.”
The Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA), with funding support from ONDCP, has also developed new model legislation for state governments to support the creation and development of recovery-ready workplaces in their states.
This model legislation, if adopted by state governments as written, would:
- 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.
Private, Public Sector Support for New Initiatives
As a part of President Biden’s call for employers to be part of the whole of society efforts to develop a recovery ready nation, Google announced enhancements to its recovery-ready workplace policies, in furtherance of its ongoing commitment to building an inclusive and supportive recovery-friendly workplace. The Administration welcomes the commitments of other companies to implement these recovery-ready workplace policies.
“We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed at work, regardless of their past. That’s why we’re committed to creating a workplace where people in recovery feel supported and respected,” said Google Chief Health Officer Dr. Karen DeSalvo. “We appreciate the White House’s leadership on the issue and look forward to continuing to support our recovery community at Google.”
Governor Chris Sununu, a longtime champion of recovery initiatives in New Hampshire, praised the Administration’s new model law for state governments and encouraged legislators and fellow governors to introduce and enact the model law. The Governor also announced the creation of the Recovery-Ready Workplace Institute to help support states and employers as they develop recovery-ready workplace policies.
“When I launched the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative here in New Hampshire, our goal was to change the culture around addiction and engage employers in being a proactive part of their employees’ recovery,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “The program, which has grown to over 350 participating businesses in New Hampshire representing over 95,000 employees, has spread across the country. Granite Staters can take pride that with today’s announcement, the model created here in New Hampshire will have an even greater lifesaving impact.”
The Biden-Harris Administration is calling on employers to adopt the toolkit and legislators in every state to take up the model law in their next session.
Today’s new announcements build on actions the Administration has already taken to improve access to care and expand our nation’s recovery support services infrastructure, including:
- Working with bipartisan members of the Congress to make it easier for doctors to prescribe effective treatments for opioid use disorder.
- Expanding access to life-saving opioid-reversal medications that can prevent fatal overdoses.
- Expanding the nation’s system of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, opening 140 new centers to provide frontline care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
- Launching a nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (9-8-8), which connects callers to trained counselors around the clock.
- Creating a Recovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub to help employers support and hire people in recovery.
- Proposing a new rule that would require health insurers to identify any gaps in the mental health and substance use disorder care they provide and to ensure that mental and physical health services are equally accessible.
- Working with States to ensure that millions of Medicaid patients enrolled in private Medicaid health plans have coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services.
- Requesting a historic $46 billion for prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorder, as well as reducing the supply of deadly drugs.
Earlier this fall, Dr. Gupta hosted a National Recovery Month Summit to discuss the ways all Americans can work together to build a more recovery-ready nation. At the Summit, Dr. Gupta highlighted key actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to expand treatment access, prevent substance use disorder, and support the tens of millions of American in recovery. You can watch the full National Recovery Month Summithere.
President Biden declared September as National Recovery Month, a time to celebrate the millions of Americans who are in recovery and recommit ourselves to making sure that everyone has access to the services and support they need to rebuild lives of purpose and hope.
Read President Biden’s full proclamation on National Recovery Month HERE.
Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy HERE.