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DPH seeks to improve employer response to addiction

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HARTFORD -- The Connecticut Department of Public Health has issued guidelines for employers wishing to help their workers struggling with addiction.

For a substance abuser, addiction and its related issues can lead to loss of family, friends, housing and also loss of employment. The Department of Public Health wants employers to support their employees struggling with addiction, not fire them.

Dr. Raul Pino, Department of Public Health described their goals, “To change the culture about drug addiction. Especially in the workplace and especially for some professions like construction workers and other workers who do a lot of physical work, and inevitably, some people get hurt, and some people get prescribed painkillers.”

Officials said the worst-case scenario, seen often in this crisis; a person in hurt at work, they are prescribed pain killers, they become addicted and then get fired. Dr. Pino wants employers to take a smarter approach, “The idea is to enhance our ability for early detection signs. To increase the ability for people to recover and come back to work and make it easier for them to come back to work. The perfect outcome for us would be to all the employers across the state review the best practices in their approach to substance abuse disorder and create an environment that is supportive for people to recover.”

The Department of Public Health wants employers to offer support, while recognizing addiction as a disease, not a crime.

They released a report that supports the need to approach addiction in the workplace differently. That report can be found here: 

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